If the weather stays mild, 2019 could prove even better for the UK’s pubs and restaurants, according to data and research agency CGA there in its annual CGA Christmas Report 2018.
Some 66 million visits are made to the on-trade in GB over Christmas with 43% of consumers spending more on drinking out than they normally do and 45% spending more on eating out.
Two-thirds of people (62%) visit the on-trade to eat or drink over Christmas with half going out more than they would at other times of the year, found CGA.
Last year the on-trade there saw impressive sales growth over the festive period, helped in part by the mild weather and the fact Christmas 2018 fell mid-week, giving consumers two weekends either side of Christmas Day to visit pubs and restaurants.
This helped boost overall sales of food and drink through managed outlets by 7% on the previous year, with sales of food up 4.3% and drink sales rising 4.7%, according to the 2018 Report.
Restaurants proved the most popular destination type, with 70% of consumers going out to a restaurant during December 2018, a rise on the previous year.
But some 64% of consumers say they visit pubs over Christmas while 23% visit ‘bars’.
“Mild and ice-free weather and the way Christmas falls are two of the biggest influencing factors on whether consumers choose to eat and drink out of home over the festive period,” commented CGA director Karl Chessell.
“With Christmas Day and Boxing Day again falling mid-week this year we should see consumers tempted out – although that does depend on the weather and sentiment following the General Election. A festive sales boost will be a welcome relief to restaurant, pub and bar operators who’ve experienced a difficult trading year.”
Key days for going out over the Festive period are the Friday (so-called ‘mad Friday’) and Saturday before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. However on-trade sales data show that the Festive period is beginning to extend to three weeks of celebrations as UK consumers start going out from the second weekend of December onwards.
CGA’s Christmas Report 2019 for the UK will be available from January 2020 with extensive detail on consumer interaction with the out-of-home market over the Christmas period including sales performance.