According to recent research conducted by NIQ on behalf of CGA, consumer demand for pubs, bars, and restaurants in Britain has remained resilient despite increasing household expenses.
CGA's Cost of Living Pulse, which is updated monthly, reveals that 40% of consumers went out for dining and drinks on a weekly basis in April 2023. Remarkably, this percentage remains unchanged from March and has only decreased by two points compared to October 2022.
Additionally, in April, over 94% of consumers ventured out at least once, reflecting a one-point increase from March and a two-point increase from six months ago.
Furthermore, the study indicates stability as only 24% of consumers reported going out more frequently than usual in April, with this figure showing a minor decrease of one percentage point from six months prior.
While 43% of consumers claim to have reduced their outings, this percentage has remained constant since October 2022. Notably, this group primarily consists of individuals who were already infrequent visitors to on-premise establishments, while the core group of regular patrons has either maintained or increased their frequency of visits.
Charlie Mitchell, CGA by NIQ's research and insight director, said:
"Consumer confidence may be fragile, but our Cost of Living Pulse makes it clear that people remain as eager as ever to eat and drink out.
They know that pubs, bars and restaurants provide experiences they can't get anywhere else, and they will give them up only as a very last resort."
The latest findings from the Pulse also emphasise the enduring significance of hospitality as a priority for discretionary spending among individuals.
Surprisingly, 39% of consumers express their intention to prioritise visits to pubs, bars, and restaurants even if their disposable income were to be further reduced. This percentage is considerably higher compared to those who would allocate their spending towards areas such as clothing (28%), home improvements (27%), or international holidays (27%).
These survey results align with CGA's sales data, which showcases consistent sales performance within the pub, bar, and restaurant sector.
The most recent Coffer CGA Business Tracker, which tracks sales at leading managed groups in Britain, records a noteworthy like-for-like growth of 6.9% in April 2023, marking the seventh consecutive month of year-on-year increases.
Nevertheless, despite this positive trend, sales figures still lag behind the current high inflation rate, resulting in a decline in real terms.
In light of the cost-of-living crisis, Mitchell emphasises that consumers are increasingly seeking exceptional value for their money when they choose to dine or socialise outside their homes.
"In such a demanding and increasingly polarised market, it's more important than ever for businesses to understand the latest consumer habits and priorities and deliver consistently memorable and good-value experiences that keep guests coming back."