The NPD Pub Tracker also revealed 18 to 24-year-olds are now visiting pubs more (up 1.4 percentage points) but those over 65 are not (down 1.3 percentage points).
Adult-only meal occasions in pubs have seen a drop of 1% year on year but parties with children of all ages have risen by 4.2% and account for 35.5% of all pub meal occasions.
NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport outlined the reasoning behind the increase in people visiting the pub.
Returning back to growth
He said: “Pub visits have returned back to growth in the year ending April 2019 with growth of 0.8%, this is the first time we have seen growth at the end of the financial year since 2017.
“This has been through positive growth in June-July 2018 due to the World Cup and the first part of 2019, which was fuelled by the unseasonably good weather in parts of March and April.”
The research also delved into where in the country was seeing growth, where there was no growth and why was happening.
Allport added: “The most significant growth was seen in London (up 9.5%) while the rest of the country is actually seeing declines of 0.5%.
“The success of London pubs has been driven by the growth of larger format outlets in tourist hot spots and increased focus on healthier food and non-alcoholic options, all of which are big consumer trends, especially for the younger demographics."
He said: “It is from these younger demographics that we are currently seeing the growth with consumers aged between 18 and 24 seeing a visit share gain of 1.4 percentage points in the year ending April 2019.
“Pubs have historically struggled to attract this age group due to competition with cheap supermarket alcohol. However, we are seeing a turnaround due to new formats – such as BrewDog and Draft House – specifically targeting these younger demographics.”
Operators outside of London should look to the capital for inspiration, Allport advised, in order to thrive.
“Following major declines, this uplift in visits is encouraging for the pub channel especially as they are appealing to a demographic that has historically been difficult to capture,” he said.
“However, pubs outside London would do well to look at what is happening inside the city as the face of the traditional pub is changing drastically, with chains such as Drake & Morgan and BrewDog leading the way with diverse menus, large estates and quirky interiors.”