That is according to latest figures from the CGA Peach Trading Index into Christmas footfall trends which found 37.8 million customers visited pubs and bars in the four weeks ending 3 January.
- Individual customers made an average of more than four visits in the period and venues sold an average of 569 more drinks during the four week festive period.
- Footfall peaked on New Year’s Eve with 11.3 million visits made to on-trade venues with over half of these being pubs
- Christmas Eve and ‘Black Friday’ saw 9.6 million visits each and Black Friday was the on-trade’s best day for drinks sales.
- Christmas Day attracted the largest total of food and drink sales with food now as important to pubs as drink and accounted for 51% of total sales over Christmas - down from 52% last year.
- It found that consumers like to experiment when eating and drinking out at Christmas, with 2.2 million trying a new product or drink.
Client services director at CGA Strategy, Rachel Perryman, said: “This research shows that visits to pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs are an integral part of the UK’s Christmas - but it also reveals ways in which the on-trade can get an even bigger share of the festive spend.
"Operators who get their offer spot on and are prepared to experiment with products and promotions will be best placed to take advantage when Christmas comes around again.”
CGA said its findings are in line with positive Christmas trading updates from pub operators including JD Wetherspoon, Fuller’s, Marston’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers.