New on-premise research shows an uptick in drink-led occasions in Australia, with concerns around COVID-19 gradually declining. However, consumers have been opting to stay closer to home and drink locally as they return to venues.
CGA’s On Premise Consumer Pulse checks in with 750 Australian on-premise visitors every month to understand their recent behaviour, how they feel about the channel (including any COVID-19 restrictions) and their intentions for visits in the month ahead.
Visitation remains stable across the Australian on=premise, with 92% visiting over the last month – with drink-led visits seeing an increase of +3pp versus the previous month, stealing share from food-led occasions, which have dropped off slightly.
While concerns over COVID-19 remain, they continue to decline (-6pp versus March amongst those visiting less), with a slight increase in those visiting less due to frustrations with continuing restrictions in venues such as masks and social distancing (+6pp vs last month).
As restrictions begin to ease, planned visits (59%) are still commanding a greater share of occasions than spontaneous visits (41%). The research and pre-planning process represents an opportunity for suppliers to promote and engage consumers prior to visit. CGA notes that some suppliers in Europe have seen great success in winning the first-drink order via this method.
In contrast, increased spontaneity when it comes to visitation has been driven by growing confidence in going out (32%), fewer restrictions in place (33%) and the influence of friends/family (39%). Looking ahead, only a quarter of consumers have already fully planned when and where they’ll go out in the next month, meaning the vast majority of on-premise visits in the next month are still available to be influenced in some way..
Of those who are pre-booking in advance, there is a continued shift towards digital, with 53% opting to book online or via an app. 86% of consumers pre-book within just a week of the actual visit so local marketing, event promotion and other footfall-driving tactics need to fast turnaround and on point.
As consumers return to the on-premise within the context of quite different travelling and working patterns, the majority are opting for venues within 30 minutes of their home, with venues most likely to be in suburban locations (60%). While two in five consumers have visited city centre locations, 48% of them said they are visiting these venues less frequently versus pre-COVID-19 and preferring to drink locally.
Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas & Asia Pacific, said: “Over the next four issues of our Australian On Premise Consumer Pulses, we’ll continue to delve into the how the on-premise is being affected by a changed consumer path to purchase.
“With many consumers shifting their preference towards local/suburban venues, suppliers will need to ensure that resources are appropriately employed to provide consumers with the kinds of experiences they are used to experiencing in the city. This is especially relevant for suppliers of premium brands, exploration categories and trade-up options such as cocktails, premium wine and champagne.”