Off-trade

Ireland’s on-trade to bounce back when restrictions relax

Ireland’s on-trade can make a strong return when the country’s latest constraints ease — but only if it can meet consumers’ new needs and lingering safety concerns, suggests research from CGA.

 

 

CGA reports solid returns to Ireland’s pubs, bars and restaurants after previous Lockdowns and after the last full closure in the first half of 2021, four in five consumers returned within the first few weeks of reopening.

CGA reports solid returns to Ireland’s pubs, bars and restaurants after previous Lockdowns and after the last full closure in the first half of 2021, four in five consumers returned within the first few weeks of reopening.

 

CGA’s On Premise Measurement service recorded solid returns to Ireland’s pubs, bars and restaurants after previous Lockdowns and after the last full closure in the first half of 2021, four in five (80%) consumers returned within the first few weeks of reopening and drinks sales soon reached three quarters of pre-pandemic levels.

Some of the momentum of the recovery was lost, however, after the introduction of the 8pm curfew and reduced capacity in the on-trade just before Christmas. But with restrictions expected to ease in February, there will be opportunities to revive sales.

CGA’s On-Trade Measurement data showed that after previous Lockdowns consumers headed back out with a ‘treat’ mentality. With many eager to make up for lost occasions, the value of sales spiked, indicating a greater interest in premium drinks.

There were other important shifts in drinks choices including a move towards drinks that consumers couldn’t easily recreate at home – leading to boosts for draught beer and a surge in cocktail sales.

The spirits category gained nearly 2% on its market share of drinks sales after the first Lockdown while the Long Alcoholic Drinks category took a 1% share after the second one. This points to the importance of range as suppliers and operators adjust to trends and the value of targeting young adults in particular.

Consumers returned to the on-trade after Ireland’s second full Lockdown faster than they did after the first. The vaccine rollout and falling infection rates should leave them even more confident this time ’round believes CGA.

But its Opus (On-premise user survey) report shows it will still be important for venues to show that they take drinkers’ safety seriously. Half (52%) of consumers took hygiene standards into account when choosing where to eat and drink after the second Lockdown, making it a much more important factor than familiarity (27%) or the range and quality of drinks on offer (both 17%).

“All our research points to a decent revival for Ireland’s On-Premise when consumers can drink out later and socialising gets easier,” says Sian Brennan, CGA’s Client Director for Ireland, “However, suppliers and operators will need to be ready to adjust to more changes in category, brand and serve choices – and with some consumers still anxious about safety, they can’t afford to relax on hygiene protocols either. Establishing the right range will be more important than ever and suppliers will have to work hard for share in a competitive market.”

 

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