New Carlsberg report reveals modern role of the pub

The third edition of Carlsberg UK’s Consumer Insights Report has been published and reveals the modern role of the pub, the evolving landscape of hospitality and confirms that the pub remains the number-one destination for consumers out-of-home.

Key findings from the report include the break down and analysis of the popularly-labelled ‘millennial’ demographic. An important consumer group for operators, 18-35 year olds are commonly referred to as millennials but as a term that describes over 14m people, the report delves deeper into this classification and reveals the importance of recognising the factions within this broad definition.

Whilst the millennials as a mass identity have behaviours and attitudes in common, the report takes a segmented approach and identifies fundamental differences in consumption habits between 18-25 and 26-35 year olds – and what this means for the out-of-home market.

Experiences have become increasingly important and equally so, sharing them on social media – and as such creating ‘shareable’ moments remains vital for operators in an ever-competitive market. The report’s analysis of social media trends has flagged the increased appetite for experiences throughout the week and on atypical days. Often a neglected day for wet-led pubs, the report even highlights the importance of Sundays, with the use of ‘#SundayFunday’ having grown by staggering 55% over the last three years.

Created to inspire pub and bar operators across the country, the report also explores a number of key themes, including premiumisation, the demand for quality experiences, health and moderation and technology.

The report shows that the 'treat economy' mega-trend of recent years shows no signs of abating and as a result while pub visits are fewer, when consumers are on the premises, they are looking for premium choices, experiences and serves, with the average spend per head up 3%.

The consumer search for experiences continues to drive the leisure and hospitality market and the report’s findings support this with half of participants stating they feel a need to find new experiences to enjoy during their leisure time.

The report has also found that 50% of the population moderate alcohol in order to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Many other leisure sub-sectors are winning consumers over, with 26-35 year olds now more likely to visit the gym than the pub.

Despite this, the social aspect of the pub is still clear, with many consumers open to seeing their local pub hosting wider occasions including a work space, a film or book club and even a venue for exercise or yoga classes.

Technology continues to affect consumer habits with factors such as a strong online presence, online booking facilities and free WiFi scoring highest amongst participants.

Alongside these themes, this year’s Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report has been developed to showcase the biggest opportunities for the on-trade. Presenting the importance of getting the traditional social occasion right, the report also reveals several ‘wants’ from different demographics including cocktail masterclasses, opening early for breakfast, community meetings and coffee mornings.

The importance of beer and food matching, particularly in food-led pubs has been championed by consumers, who have revealed that they’re looking for a more comprehensive offering when eating out. In fact, half of consumers would be interested in recommendations for the perfect brew to pair with their food choice - and this rises to 67% amongst 26-35 year olds, who are the most engaged with pairing.

Alistair Gaunt, VP Nationals Sales at Carlsberg UK, commented, “The pub remains the number one consumer choice for out-of-home occasions and whilst this is fantastic news, the last few years haven’t been without their challenges.

'This report provides meaningful insights into consumer habits, the rise of consumer expectations and the evolving way we need to approach our definitions of consumer groups. For instance, the findings from the report have shown that by using one simple descriptor of ‘millennial’ for such a wide, and profitable, collective of people operators can really be missing a trick.

“Our passion is brewing premium quality beer brands and catering for the needs of our customers, working with them to identify opportunities for growth and to cultivate environments which provide reasons for consumers to visit and return, time and time again.”