Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report

Report: Pubs challenged by cafes as consumers moderate drinking

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Report: Pubs challenged by cafes as consumers moderate drinking

Related tags: Public house, Coffee

Consumers are spending more than ever before in the on-trade, but pubs face a challenge from cafes and restaurants as people look to moderate their drinking, according to the Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report.

The report explores current trends and consumer buying behaviours shaping the UK on-trade market. Key findings in this year’s report included:

  • Consumers are spending more out of the home than ever before
  • £145bn was spent in the leisure market in 2014
  • Almost 60% of people are looking for new experiences
  • Pubs remain the number one consumer weekly activity
  • 81% of consumers want to moderate their drinking
  • 45% say the pub quiz is number one attraction in pubs
  • 47% visit the on-trade once a week
  • Quality of food outranks value for money

The report concluded that experiences are shifting into new leisure sub sectors forcing pubs to compete with coffee shops and restaurants - which are growing in visits ahead of pubs, up 5% and 4% respectively, versus 2% for pubs.

At home occasions are also rising as consumers spend more time in their homes to save money during the week. This is driving the trend for treat occasions at the weekend, with 31% of consumers budgeting over £30 for a weekend occasion, versus 9% during the week.

Findings reflect consumers engaging in fewer occasions, but spending more each time.


David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK, said: “The British on-trade has faced its fair share of adversity in recent years, confronted with recession and fragile consumer confidence, so it’s enormously encouraging to report a rise in spending and confidence growing - now driving the channel.

“While the Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report highlights new and on-going challenges for the UK pub, the study also delivers key insight to trends and opportunities, including value in sport or all-day dining in pubs, and an in-depth understanding of today’s pub-goer. For example, we know that four in five people are now really thinking about their alcohol habits and plan to moderate their drinking – a significant consumer movement and opportunity for pubs.

“The on-trade environment is ever-changing and the variety of occasions and options available to consumers continues to grow, meaning we need to work with pubs nationwide to provide reasons to visit, and return.”

Further findings:

  • Spend on consumer experiences is growing faster than any other out of home activity
  • 66% stated ‘entertainment should be about learning new things as well as having fun’
  • 47% of consumers visit the on-trade weekly, with visits to pubs, coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, sports events and shopping all in growth – this rises to 62% with the under 25s
  • Over 35s are just as likely to visit a coffee shop as a pub, while millennials are just as likely to go to the gym or go shopping as go to the pub
  • The number of women visiting the on-trade has grown by 1.4% since 2011, with 23% of women now visiting the pub weekly
  • Increasingly sophisticated at-home entertainment is playing a key role in removing consumer occasions from the on-trade
  • Digital platforms, including social media, are growing in importance to consumers visiting the on-trade, with an average 1.4 hours spent browsing and socialising per day. 

Related topics: Beer, Food trends, Marketing