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Industry Trends: Consumers Still Cautious but Looking Toward Future of Going Out

June 23, 2010 By: Alissa Ponchione


Although the economy is recovering, consumers are still cautious about going out and indulging, according to beverage consumer survey results shared at the Consumer 360 Conference by The Nielsen Company, held in Las Vegas last week.

The results prove what bar owners and operators already knew first-hand: Consumers are going out less than before the economic downturn. Of those surveyed, 47 percent go out less often to bars and clubs while 58 percent and 60 percent of consumers are not going out to casual dining and fine dining restaurants, respectively. The upside, however, is many consumers (37 percent) plan to visit casual dining establishments, as well as fine dining (27 percent) and bars and nightclubs (16 percent), when the economy improves.

Additionally, legal-drinking-age Millennials (aged 21-27) are a good group to target: Those surveyed said they will be much more likely to go out once the economy improves. (For a look at how to reach this age group, check out the recent report from Nightclub & Bar here.

Though reports swirl that most people are trading down, most of those surveyed (83 percent of beer buyers, 79 percent of wine consumers and 81 percent of spirit consumers) are not trading down. Interestingly, the majority of consumers who are trading down during the recession (67 percent beer, 79 percent wine and 63 percent spirits) said good quality beverages are available at lower prices. Because of this, most of these consumers (70 percent beer, 75 percent wine and 66 percent spirits) will continue to choose less expensive options as the economy recovers. And the Millennials again lead the pack in terms of spending: This entire LDA age group (aged 21-34) is more likely to trade back up, compared to the other demographic groups, the study shows.

Danny Brager, vice president, group client director, Beverage Alcohol, The Nielsen Company, said in the report that the challenge for alcohol companies is to learn new strategies in dealing with consumers who are trading down. They should ask: “Are these consumers affecting their business and if so what strategies do they employ to impact that behavior, whether it be new products, assortment strategies, differentiated channel strategies, price and promotion activity or precision merchandising?”

Although consumers are being fiscally responsible with their purchases, things are slowly looking up for the on-premise industry. And with the right promotions and marketing strategies, your bar can be top of mind as soon as these consumers come back out to play.


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