‘Treat economy’ benefits pubs despite dip in youth spending

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Good for pubs: under-30s are spending 7% less on ‘non-housing’ items but pubs are faring well
Good for pubs: under-30s are spending 7% less on ‘non-housing’ items but pubs are faring well
While new research has found that today’s under-30s spend 7% less on non-housing items than the same age group did in 2001, experience-led spending in pubs by Millennials remains healthy.

In what’s it is calling an “intergenerational audit”, think-tank Resolution Foundation has revealed that today’s under-30s are spending 7% less on “fun” than the same age group did 18 years ago, as reported by the BBC​.

“From frustrations about buying a first home to fears about the cost of care, Britain faces many intergenerational challenges,” David Willetts, president of the think-tank’s Intergenerational Centre, explained.

He added: “The big living standards gains that each generation used to enjoy over their predecessors have stalled.”

However, while cash-strapped Millennials spending less might not be a revelation, pubs providing unique and affordable experiences are still reaping rewards.

Millennials and the ‘treat economy’

The age group, one in five of whom have two or more jobs according to Coople UK, are big players in the ‘treat economy’ given they have less time to go out but seek bang for their buck when then do.

For example, while frequency of Millennial visits to the on-trade may have fallen, average spend per head among the age group has risen by 3% according to Carlsberg UK’s latest Consumer Insights Report​.

What’s more, a white paper titled The Millennial Hangover ​by marketing and insight company Multiply reiterates that Millennials care deeply about quality experiences at affordable costs​ with 60% of the audience citing price a major factor in a night out and 55% highlighting quality as crucial when buying alcohol in the on-trade. 

This is backed by figures in CGA Insight and AlixPartners’ latest quarterly Market Growth Monitor that found the arrival of ambitious and experience-led smaller brands and premium leaning bars that “flex” their offer to suit different times of day have been particularly successful in the past 12 months.

Alcohol is less important

Multiply’s survey also found that while premium alcohol was still attractive to Millennials, ultimately, the age group doesn’t have as close of a relationship to alcohol as those previous.

According to research, 78% of 18 to 26-year-olds see themselves as low to medium drinkers, while 55% of the same audience claim alcohol doesn’t play an important part in their social lives – which increasingly revolve around unique venues and experiences.

Creating something shareable

With a recent study finding that 47% of Millennials text, tweet and post on Instagram while they eat​, pubs that create experiences that younger customers can share on social media are increasingly successful.

With a large number of the age group living in fear that drunken photos may find their way onto their heavily vetted Instagram feeds, the less alcohol involved, the better.

Do something zeitgeist-y

By now, most of us will have seen the viral videos of packed-out bars reacting to the twists and turns of Game of Thrones​’ final series unravel on huge projector screens.

While pubs have historically been held up as social spaces rather than somewhere to watch TV, hosting events that revolve around televised, non-sporting, flavours of the month may not be as crazy an idea as you might think in attracting younger footfall.

Reality TV phenomenon Love Island​, for example, reaches millions of viewers – more than half of whom are under the age of 34.

Nancy Taylor-Jewell, general manager of the Red Lion in Stoke Newington, north London, hosted a finale party for the 2017 edition of Love Island​ as well as a launch party for the 2018 series.

“For the finale party, there was so much interest in the series compared to previous years we thought it was mad not to capitalise on that. We were full upstairs and downstairs and there was a massive buzz on our social media too.

“Plenty of customers had never been to our pub before so we won their custom and also doubled our normal take for that day. Even people who weren’t into it were glued by the end.”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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