On-trade

Opportunities to revive Ireland’s late-night market after Covid-19

Nightclubs and late-night bars reopened in Ireland in late January, but with many venues closed or weakened by tough limitations on trading, operators and suppliers now face the challenge of recovering sales and restoring people’s confidence about crowded venues. confidence about crowded venues.

 

“Ireland’s late-night and high-tempo occasions are steadily returning, but it will be some time before consumers’ confidence about visiting busy clubs and bars gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels."

“Ireland’s late-night and high-tempo occasions are steadily returning, but it will be some time before consumers’ confidence about visiting busy clubs and bars gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels.”

In late 2021 market insight consultants CGA’s On Premise User Survey showed that only 56% of consumers were confident about visiting nightclubs—much lower than for venues like hotels (75%).

Despite this, CGA’s Opus surveys have shown that bars have gained market share as pent-up demand is released, though the late-night sector has been slower than other channels to return to normal trading.

While 28% and 10% of consumers visit late-night bars and nightclubs respectively at least once a quarter, these figures are much lower than restaurants (47%) and drink-led pubs (38%).

“Ireland’s late-night and high-tempo occasions are steadily returning, but it will be some time before consumers’ confidence about visiting busy clubs and bars gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels,” predicted CGA’s client director, Ireland, Sian Brennan, “Operators need the support of suppliers and consumers more than ever and effective strategies will require a deep understanding of how the pandemic has changed people’s priorities and preferences.”

CGA’s research has found:

  • half (52%) of consumers say their drinks choices are driven by value, making it more important than the influence of friends (33%)
  • vodka is typically drunk by 42% of nightclubbers, consolidating its position as the most popular choice ahead of cocktails (29%) and lager (29%)
  • nightclubs are a crucial place to build brands, with 58% of consumers more likely to try new products there than in other venues.

“Nightclubs are a great place to connect consumers with drinks brands and their return is an ideal moment to build loyalty and develop new products,” concluded Sian, “But at a time when consumers are facing mounting costs of living and disposable income is under severe pressure, value-for-money, good activations and generating positive word-of-mouth will all be important considerations as we move further into 2022.”

 

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