Propel Morning Briefing

CGA – Britons drinking less but favouring premium drinks from branded pubs and upmarket bars

British drinkers are increasingly favouring premium drinks from branded pubs and upmarket bars, according to the latest CGA Alcohol Sales Tracker.

The research estimates the total value of the out-of-home alcoholic drinks market at £24.6bn in the year to mid-June – a year-on-year increase of only 0.6% but against a decline of 2.6% in volume terms.

The trend continues a long-term slowdown as British consumers scale back drinking occasions and spend slightly more on fewer drinks.

The reduction has been most apparent in London, where growth in the value of sales has more than halved in the past year.

The Alcohol Sales Tracker revealed a particular drop in sales of alcoholic drinks through leased and tenanted pubs and only marginal growth among independent operators.

Instead, consumers are increasingly opting to drink at premium bars and managed pubs, often combining their visits with dining.

CGA classifies 35% of the out-of-home drinking market as premium. However, these outlets now account for 47% of all sales by value and are gaining market share each year.

Sales growth through the managed pub sector is also healthy, standing at 2.8% in the year to mid-June.

The cider sector enjoyed above-average sales value growth of 2%, driven by warm spring and early summer weather, powerful brand marketing, and the rising popularity of artisan producers. In contrast, sales growth in spirits halved in the past year.

The research also suggests more drinkers are heeding messages about healthy levels of alcohol consumption while becoming more adventurous in their choices.

CGA chief executive Phil Tate said: “The small fall in volume sales rebuts the much-publicised idea levels of unhealthy drinking are soaring, suggesting instead that consumers are continuing to demand better quality when they choose to drink out. While we are still seeing value growth it is no surprise we have seen a small decline in this figure. Market conditions at the end of H1 2017 are different to conditions at the end of 2016. We’ve had the referendum, two major terror attacks and a snap election. The fact there is still growth shows how resilient consumers are (and) how customer-centric the market remains. Brands that can supply their customers with the right range, atmosphere and experience and establish clear points of difference from the mainstream will be best placed to thrive in the years ahead.”


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