Out-of-home drinks sales and footfall continue to push very gradually back towards pre-lockdown levels, the latest data from CGA and Wireless Social shows.
The new edition of CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows that the total value of drinks sales in the week to last Saturday (1 August) was 28% down on the same week in 2019—a significant improvement on the 35% year-on-year drop in the previous seven days.
Last week’s data confirms two big post-lockdown trends: of pubs outperforming restaurants and beer trumping other categories for sales. Following warm weather in many parts of the country and strong reopening numbers, pubs’ drinks sales were 22% down on the equivalent week in 2019, putting them well ahead of the restaurants (down 37%) and bars and clubs (down 50%) segments.
Beer is similarly outperforming the market, with sales down just 20% year-on-year, compared to spirits (down 38%), wine (down 36%) and soft drinks (down 34%)—though there are signs that the gap between the categories is narrowing. Performing best of all in the mini-heatwave was cider, sales of which were down only 14%.
Footfall data for the same period to Saturday 1 August—drawn from Wireless Social’s sample of more than 1,000 locations—shows that weekly traffic was 55% lower than the weekly average in February, the last full month before lockdown. This is an improvement of four percentage points on the previous seven days, but numbers may have been held down by the government’s introduction of mandatory face masks in high street shops. Weekend footfall was slightly better than the weekly average.
Drinks sales and footfall are both far below what might be expected at this time of year, but there are positive signs that they are edging upwards as people become more confident about going out,” says Rachel Weller, CGA’s Head of Consumer Research and Marketing. “Draught beer and cider have been the drinks of choice for many of these returning consumers, and with hot weather forecast they should continue to perform well in the week ahead. But as more people return to drinking-out and vary their occasions, other categories will hopefully pick up soon too.”
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