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Consumers seek affordable drink-only occasions Lumina finds

Published:  14 November, 2023

The latest Lumina research has revealed that consumers are opting for affordable drink-only occasions, with pubs and bars seeing the most notable share growth year-on-year, up 1.3% in Q3.

Growth in pub share of occasions has been driven by an uptick in consumers going to the pub solely for a drink, rising by nearly 5% in the same period.

The findings suggest consumers are slowly returning to normal habits in 2023, despite remaining value-conscious. 

According to its Eating and Drinking Out Panel, Lumina reports that a greater number of consumers participated in the eating and drinking out market in Q3 2023, an increase of 7%, with customers looking for immediate necessities in the form of drinks.

Consumers opting to eat or drink out as part of their normal routine has seen a rise this year, whilst social gatherings have grown at dinner along with heightened consumer confidence.

More consumers being out and about in Q3 2023 has seen a realignment in day-part shares, with drink-only occasions the only growth area, up by nearly 4%.

Meanwhile, dinner has failed to gain market share year-on-year, whilst the proportion of consumers opting for pubs and bars, QSR or restaurants for a dinner occasion has declined.

The research found that value has become less important as a driver to a venue at lunch and dinner, as financial strain eases for some as inflation drops back, however, those who identify as very value-conscious are trading out of the market at these more expensive day parts.

The Lumina Intelligence Eating & Drinking Out panel is based on 78,000 surveys across the year, built up from a nationally representative weekly sample of 1,500 shoppers.

The positive momentum for drink-only occasions carried over into October, as the Rugby World Cup generated double-digit growth in drinks sales for the on-trade.

According to CGA, five of the six knock-out matchdays delivered a boost of 16% or more against the average equivalent day over the rest of 2023. Growth by value peaked at 23% during England’s quarter-final with Fiji on Sunday 15 October, thanks in part to an afternoon kick-off and a second quarter-final afterwards.

Pubs and bars screening games also enjoyed big boosts on England’s two other knock-out matchdays. The narrow semi-final defeat to South Africa on Saturday 21 October contributed to a rise of 16% in on-premise drinks sales while the bronze match with Argentina the following Friday (27 October) helped trigger an 18% uplift. The first of those two days was also boosted by an attractive round of Premier League football fixtures, while the second benefitted from the run-up to Halloween.