For the first time in five years, the pub sector has seen growth in visits from the 18-24 demographic, according to new data.

The latest NPD Pub Tracker shows a 3.6% increase in visits by this age group in the year ending June 2018, compared to the previous 12 months.

Visits by families with children grew 3.5% during the period, while adult-only trips declined 3%.

There was a 9.5% increase in visits prompted by deals and promotions during the year, with 32.2% of all visits to the pub driven by deals/promotions.

Cyril Lavenant, Foodservice Director UK at the NPD Group, said:

“Pub visits declined YE June 2018 for the third consecutive quarter. This means pubs are performing behind the wider foodservice market (YE June 2018 TOOH visits -0.4%; pub visits - 0.8%).

“This decline in visits was driven by a significant decrease in visits to independents (-10.5% in YE Jun 2018) while small and large brands have grown traffic.

“The biggest dayparts for pubs are lunch and dinner, which are both losing traffic in YE June 2018. Lunch, which accounts for 35.4% of visits has seen traffic decline by -2.6%, while dinner, which accounts for 37.5%, has seen traffic decline by -2.9%. Despite this, pubs are performing well when it comes to snacking occasions, growing visits by +2.1% for afternoon snacks and +7.2% for late-night snacks.

“Families are a big consumer group for pubs, accounting for 35.1% of total visits, and traffic is growing YoY by +3.5% in YE June 2018, while adult-only occasions have declined -3.0% in YE Jun 18. For the first time since YE Q3 2014, the 18-24 demographic is growing visits. This age group has grown in visit terms by +3.6% vs the same period in the previous year. This age group has historically been a hard group to capture as they are increasingly drinking less and are more value-led than older customers. However, England’s surprise performance in the World Cup – reaching the semi-final against Croatia – seems to have driven a higher level of visits from this demographic. Pubs should try to sustain this momentum if they can by offering new experiences and creating value-led offers such as happy hours or 2-4-1s, which are popular with this age group.

“Generally, pubs have continued to lose relevance at lunch and dinner, their two most important dayparts. To address this difficulty, pubs (independent operators as well as branded operators) need to do more work in creating compelling offers that are appealing for both families and young adults. These offers need to offer something people can’t get either at home or through other channels.”

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