Pub drinkers head out later and buy less drink

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New licensing act Drink

Pub drinkers head out later and buy less drink
Pub drinkers are heading out later in the evening and buying less drink since new Licensing Act relaxed hours says study.

Drinking habits on city-centre pub circuits have fundamentally changed as a result of the new Licensing Act, with young people now heading out much later in the evening.

Those are the findings of the first major study of drinking habits under the new regime. It supports reports that circuit bars and nightclubs are suffering reduced sales figures in the wake of licensing reform.

It confirmed a perception within the trade that generally, even before reform, people were coming out later.​ CGA-Centro chief executive Jon Collins.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of drinkers leave home later under the new regime, according to the survey of 1,113 18 to 35-year-olds by CGA-Centro, the Bar Entertainment and Dance Association and Galaxy Radio.

One-quarter (24%) said they did not leave home before 11pm. In a similar survey one year ago, just 4% left after 10pm. The most popular time to leave is now between 9pm and 10pm, with 41% departing at this time.

"It confirmed a perception within the trade that generally, even before reform, people were coming out later. Post reform, with more options later in the evening, it has exacerbated that trend,"​ said CGA-Centro chief executive Jon Collins. "It's certainly something that operators are very aware of and they are having to deal with it."

In addition, people are buying fewer drinks on an evening out.

The most common number of drinks to have in one evening is between five and seven - last year it was eight to 10.

Collins said discounting in the off-trade was also continuing to affect pubs and clubs.

In particular, it is encouraging people to have fewer nights out per week.

This year 43% said they only drink out once a week, compared with 26% in 2005.

"There's a general view that we've got nicer houses, we can buy alcohol in so cheaply, so we will stay indoors in the week," said Collins. "We still want to go out and party but we save it for one or two nights."

Elsewhere, Collins said the survey showed that - contrary to scare stories in the Daily Mail - punters are taking a more responsible attitude to an evening out.

The study found that 88% plan in advance how they will get home - up 20% on last year's survey.

And 97% stay with friends to feel safer (up 9%).

In addition, 36% usually get drunk (down 10%) and 22% drink to get drunk (down 2%).

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