Halloween provides big drinks sales uptick

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gourd opportunity: Halloween sales are on the rise
Gourd opportunity: Halloween sales are on the rise

Related tags: Halloween

Big kids are getting in on the Halloween action, giving pubs a big rise in drinks sales, with spirits in particular seeing strong growth, new data has suggested.

Figures from CGA show spirits sales rose by 11% in the on-trade on 31 October last year when compared to the average Wednesday.

The percentage doubled when compared to Halloween 2017 – rising by 22% – and showing the ghoulish calendar holiday is now becoming more significant to Britain’s on-trade.

Spike in spirit sales

“Halloween spikes spirit sales by 57%, with vodka, liqueurs and speciality drinks being the most popular drinks for spook night,” said the organisation.

“In contrast, beer sales increased by just 2.3%, suggesting that Halloween is a high-tempo occasion where consumers choose shots, bombs and cocktails rather than beer or long drinks.”

Research also showed Halloween is a favourite evening for Brits, with 21% of consumers leaving their homes for a spooky evening out in 2018, with only New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve being more popular.

Typical customers going out on Halloween are aged between 18 and 24, and are more likely to be female, said the data.

“Our research reveals that the majority of participants have white-collar jobs and a higher monthly spend on eating and drinking out – £125 compared to the average £107,” said CGA strategic initiatives director Rachel Weller.

Atmosphere and offer

“These are consumers that enter the spirit of Halloween with cash in their pockets – so it’s a great opportunity, particularly for pub and bar operators who get the atmosphere and offer right.

“We are already seeing the opening of more experience-led venues that typically make more sales by running themed evenings, games, immersive storytelling and virtual reality activities – as well as cashing in on the fact that 84% consumers on a night out now upload photos to social media,” Weller continued.

“The fancy dress aspect of Halloween is a great opportunity to get branding for operators, although that can only be achieved if pubs, bars and drinks brands deliver the all-important ‘Instagrammability’ – with environments and activations that encourage drinkers to take and share their snaps.”

Top Halloween tip from Heineken:

  • Family-friendly pubs could capitalise on Halloween night itself by offering Halloween-themed kids’ menus, spooky party games, apple bobbing, face painting and so on
  • For weekend parties, it’s critical that you plan a compelling line-up to ensure strong footfall as Halloween consumers tend to choose where to go based on the range. In particular, keep in mind that, when choosing a venue for a spooky night out
  • 88% of Halloween consumers consider the range of cider important
  • 20% of Halloween consumers will go elsewhere if the venue they were in does not serve stout
  • In addition, Halloween consumers show a strong preference towards cocktails and spirits, so ranging these categories is essential to engage this audience
  • Out of the spirits, vodka and Tequila reign supreme, experiencing an uplift of more than 100% versus the ‘average respective day’
  • Pre-batched cocktails are quick to serve and can help reduce waiting times during busy periods. Themed cocktails can also help innovate an outlet’s offering, tapping into the experimental aspect which is central to the Halloween occasion

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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