Christmas socialising remains a key tradition for consumers – CGA

The 'Importance of the Christmas Period in the On Premise’ report shows that 83% of 18-35 year olds are likely to go out over the festive season

Eighty-one percent of Ireland’s consumers went out during Christmas 2023 which is a slight decrease from the previous year (Photo by ELEVATE via Pexels)

The CGA by NIQ Christmas Report Ireland 2023 takes a close-up look at consumer behaviours and preferences during the crucial festive season, offering invaluable insights for devising Christmas 2024 strategies.

The report reveals that 81% of Ireland’s consumers went out during Christmas 2023, although this is a slight decrease from the previous year (-7pp vs 2022), with more than a third of consumers going out every week in December (35%).

The importance of the festive season in Ireland’s on premise was also reflected across age demographics, with 83% of 18-35 year olds likely to go out over the festive season, but 80% of 35-54 year olds also going out and 77% of 55+ years.

Lower tempo venues were found to have the most widespread appeal, with visits to casual dining restaurants up +4pp, compared with the previous year.

In the 2023 Christmas season, despite economic pressures, the urge to socialise remained strong. The data demonstrates a third of consumers ventured out more frequently than during other months, driven by occasions with friends and family (42%) and a treat mentality (31%). Key dates like New Year’s Eve, Mad Friday (the last Friday before Christmas), Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas), and Boxing Day were especially popular, representing optimal opportunities for promoting premium brands, targeted marketing and special deals.

In addition, the findings highlight a substantial openness among Irish consumers to try new drinks. Almost half expressed their likelihood to experiment, with an encouraging three quarters of these adventurous consumers likely to re-purchase drinks they’ve tried for the first time during the festive season. Influences such as bar staff recommendations and watching what other people are drinking play a major role in their buying decisions, presenting a clear pathway for drinks brands and venues to introduce new offerings and capture consumer interest.

As the industry gears up for Christmas 2024, brands and operators are better equipped to tap into the festivities’ full potential when forearmed with the insights provided. And with more consumers going out in December compared to the rest of the year (32% in 2023), there’s a significant opportunity to reach a broader audience and secure repeat customers for a happy New Year.

CGA by NIQ’s Report ‘The Importance of the Christmas Period in the On Premise’ features more insights into sales data and consumer trends, and can help suppliers and operators to optimise sales and marketing strategies for Christmas 2024. 

Sian Brennan, client director, CGA Ireland, said: “The Christmas trading period is a monumental time for consumer engagement and sales. So, it’s crucial for brands to grasp the when, why, and how of consumer interactions. The report pairs sales data from the festive period with a granular view of the consumer attitudes and behaviours that are essential for results-driven Christmas pre-planning. Drinks suppliers and operators can anticipate trends, adapt strategies, and ultimately, deliver experiences that resonate deeply with consumers to truly excel in the competitive festive market.”

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