UK festive footfall down, spending up

New research from CGA Strategy in the UK found that on-trade visits there fell 9% over the Christmas period compared to the same period in 2014—a substantial decline that reflects changing consumer habits, flooding in some areas and competition from other leisure activities led by the new Star Wars film, states CGA.

Key trading periods were particularly badly hit with the weekend of what’s now known as ‘Mad Friday’ seeing 4.2 million fewer visits in 2015 (possibly following negative media coverage).

But CGA Strategy’s Trading Index indicates that UK customers spent considerably more on average when they did go out, leading to year-on-year growth of 2.9% in value terms. Sales on Christmas Day were up by 3.7% year-on-year.

CGA Strategy’s figures chime with figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker which identified solid trading in the two weeks over Christmas and New Year following a sluggish start to December.

The research indicates that nearly one in three UK consumers visited a Christmas market in 2015, with 1.2 million people going to a pop-up bar — a sign of the strong competition that street food and drink operators are bringing to the eating and drinking out markets.


‘The Avoider’, ‘The Celebrator’, ‘The Reliable’

CGA Strategy’s study reveals significant changes in consumer behaviour at Christmas. They include a decline in pub and bar visits over the festive season from a valuable and engaged demographic that CGA terms ‘The Avoider’.

A second consumer type is ‘The Celebrator’ who ordinarily tends to drink less and is disengaged with brands but who visits pubs and bars more often at Christmas.

The third is ‘The Reliable’, a generally young demographic who visits pubs and bars regularly and slightly more often over Christmas.

“Slower footfall made it a challenging Christmas for pub and bar businesses” commented CGA Strategy’s Client Services Director Rachel Perryman, “but they emerged from it with decent sales growth. Our research shows the complexity of the festive market and how consumer behaviour varies over the festive season. It means operators need to be sure what their customers want from their experiences and tailor their sales and marketing strategies accordingly.”

For more information about the research visit www.cgastrategy.co.uk or call 0044 0161 476 8330.

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free