Tough January for drinks sales after consumers tighten spending

Britain’s pubs and bars have closed a difficult January with a third successive week of negative year-on-year sales.

Average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (27 January) were 4% behind the same period in 2023, but ahead of the previous weeks in January which saw a heavier dip in sales, CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows. Sales were down on six of the seven days of last week, with 6% drops on both of the two biggest days of the week, Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 January). 


January trading has been weakened by a squeeze on consumers’ spending after they enjoyed Christmas in pubs and bars, which led to better-than-expected drinks sales growth of 7% in the final fortnight of 2023. 


All drinks categories had another challenging week, however two saw year-on-year growth with soft drinks up 1% and cider up 0.4%. Beer (down 0.2%), wine (down 4%), and spirits sales fell by 18% below the same week in 2023. Spirits sales have now been down by around a fifth for three weeks in a row. 


“It’s been a challenging start to 2024 for many pubs, bars and suppliers, and while some have been insulated by a strong Christmas, others will be feeling nervous about the months ahead,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “With Dry January now at an end, milder weather emerging and the Six Nations rugby tournament starting this weekend, we can be optimistic that footfall will pick up in February. But while consumers should loosen their spending as the year goes on, January has shown us that the cost-of-living and high-inflation crisis isn’t over yet.” 


The Daily Drinks Tracker provides analysis of sales at managed licensed premises across Britain and is part of CGA by NIQ’s suite of research services delivering in-depth data on category, supplier and brand rate of sale performance. To learn more, click here and email 

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