CGA by NeilsonIQ has released its latest monthly On-Premise Consumer Pulse Report, providing a snapshot of customer behaviour over the past month and visit intentions for the next month.
The positive news for bars is that more customers went out for drinks in February than any time in the past year. The top three reasons consumers gave for increased visits were to treat themselves, because of the time of year, and because of reduced concerns around COVID-19.
However, the frequency of visits within the month has decreased. In January, 29 per cent of consumers said that they were going out more frequently, but in February it was only 23 per cent. Conversely, 33 per cent said they were going out less frequently in February, up from 31 per cent in January. The primary reasons for this shift are economic, with customers citing cost of living pressures, price increases, and reduced disposable income.
It is also good for bars to know that consumers are saying this is the period to try new things, with 73 per cent of customers saying they were likely to experiment with drinks in the upcoming month. Trying new cocktails is by far the most common form of drink experimentation.
In general, drink choices are changing significantly compared to January:
- Soft drinks remain the most-ordered drink, increasing in popularity compared to January.
- The biggest shift is purchases of cocktails and spirits.
- 38 per cent drank spirits this month, up from 33 per cent.
- 35 per cent drank cocktails this month, up from 29 per cent.
- Sales of energy drinks, no/low alcohol products, and hard seltzers are down.
- Customers are ordering more mid-strength beers than in January.
The report also reveals seasonal trends in drink choices. Customers identified the most important attributes of a summertime drink as being cold and refreshing. During summer, they are more likely to choose soft drinks, beer, and cocktails than in other seasons. Comparatively, wine is less popular in the warmer months. Summer occasions have been more casual, with people most often visiting a venue for a casual meal, drinks with friends, or to relax.
“For drinks suppliers, the summer season presents major opportunities for new product development,” said James Phillips, Client Solutions Director at CGA by NeilsonIQ, “However, promotional activity should be tailored to suit the season – with summer in Australia characterised by casual occasions at casual venues.”