Each month CGA’s On Premise Consumer Pulse checks in with 750 Australian pub goers to understand their recent behaviour, how they feel about the channel (including any COVID-19 restrictions) and their intention to visit a pub in the month ahead.
This month’s findings show that drink-led occasions are on the increase as concerns around COVID-19 gradually decline, although consumers continue to socialise in venues closer to home as they return to On Premise.
Visitation remains stable across the Australian On Premise sector, with 92 per cent of the sample group visiting venues over the last month and with drink-led visits up three percentage points when compared to the previous month, stealing the share from food-led social occasions which have dropped off slightly.
Concerns about COVID-19 persist but are continuing to decline (down six percentage points compared to March among those who do not tend to frequent pubs often). However, continuing restrictions, such as masks and social distancing, continue to deter some patrons from venturing out.
As restrictions begin to ease, planned visits (59 per cent) are still commanding a greater share of occasions than spontaneous visits at 41 per cent.
CGA suggest that this tendency to research and pre-plan outings to on-premise is an opportunity for suppliers to promote and engage consumers prior to their visit. Some suppliers in Europe have seen great success in winning the first-drink order via this method.
As confidence grows about going out (up 32 per cent), fewer restrictions in place (33%) and the influence of friends/family (39%), it is likely that spontaneous visits to venues will increase. Of the sample group, only a quarter of consumers have already fully planned when and where they’ll go out in the next month, meaning the vast majority of On Premise visits in the next month are still available to be influenced in some way..
Of those who are pre-booking in advance, there is a continued shift towards digital bookings, with 53 per cent opting to book online or via an app. Eighty six per cent of consumers pre-book within the week of the actual visit so local marketing, event promotion and other footfall-driving tactics need to be immediate and on point.
As consumers return to the On Premise within the context of quite different travelling and working patterns, the majority of patrons continue to opt for venues within 30 minutes of their home, with venues most likely to be in suburban locations for 60 per cent of those sampled. While 2 in 5 consumers have visited city centre locations, 48 per cent of them said they are visiting venues in the CBD less frequently than they were pre-COVID. This, of course, comes as no surprise to hoteliers nor city dwellers.
From the author:
Over the next four issues of our Australian On Premise Consumer Pulses, we’ll continue to delve into how the On Premise is being affected by a changed consumer Path to Purchase.
The Path to Purchase for the channel is fundamentally different now for many consumers. The way people are planning their visits to bars and restaurants has changed, how they order when in-situ is different for many reasons, their expectation of the experience generally has shifted and how these combined components now translate to intentions for a repeat visit is also different.
With many consumers shifting their preference towards local/suburban venues, suppliers will need to ensure that resources are appropriately employed to provide consumers with the kinds of experiences they are used to experiencing in the city. This is especially relevant for suppliers of premium brands, exploration categories and trade-up options such as cocktails, premium wine and Champagne.
Download the latest Australia Consumer Pulse Report here.
To learn more about CGA’s consumer research and market measurement services across both Australia and New Zealand, please contact Scott Elliott.