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Bar trend for cocktails spills into nightclubs

Published:  10 August, 2021

Nightclub visitors have, in line with trends seen after the restart of restaurants, pubs and bars from April, been celebrating reopening of the sector with cocktails, according to CGA research.

Just over a quarter (28%) of those who visited nightclubs have drunk them since 19 July — twice the average of all on-trade visitors, CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse shows.

In addition, the numbers drinking brandy/cognac and energy drinks are also more than double the average.

Moreover, the survey shows that while nightclubs have enjoyed a rush of returns, caution remains about visiting.

It found that more than two in five (43%) 18 to 24 year-olds — the late night sector’s core market — visited a nightclub within 10 days of them reopening on 19 July, while more than a quarter (28%) of those who typically used clubs before Covid went back.

Among all adult consumers, 14% visited in the 10 days after ‘freedom day’.

There was an early rush to return to venues without restrictions, with nearly a third of those who visited nightclubs going out on 19 and 20 July (30% and 31% respectively).

However, there were also signs of apprehension among some returning guests. Around two in five (43%) of those who have visited nightclubs felt very or quite nervous before going out — five percentage points higher than the average consumer visiting the on-trade since 19 July.

This may reflect the crowded nature of many nightclubs, with two thirds (66%) of nightclub visitors saying they felt “very or quite safe” during their early visits and nine in 10 (91%) planning to return to the market within the next month.

However, at the same time, a third (34%) said they felt more nervous about visiting the on-trade after their visits, nearly double the proportion of the average consumer.

“It’s great to see consumers embracing nightclubs after so long away, and encouraging that many more are likely to come back in due course,” said Rachel Weller, CGA’s director of consumer research and marketing.

“It’s also clear that there is still a lot of caution around, and it is likely to be a while before the sector is back to full speed. In the meantime, venues will need to work hard to reassure hesitant guests that they are safe in nightclubs and convince past visitors to get back into the habit of visiting, while delivering great experiences for those who are already returning so enthusiastically.”

In terms of spend, the research shows that nightclub visitors have spent an average of just over £22 on drinks in total on their trips out to venues after restrictions were eased — £5.40 more than the average on-trade visitor’s spend.

CGA’s Consumer Pulse research sampled 756 nationally representative consumers in late July.