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Young Brits spending more in pubs, bars and restaurants

A new report from Barclays has revealed that under-25s in the UK are spending significantly more when going out to eat and drink than they were last year.

With inflation forcing purse strings to tighten, the report found that more than a third of UK consumers are going out less often to eat and drink than they did in 2022. A separate, earlier study from Gunner Cocktails found that 50% planned to cut their alcohol consumption in order to combat the cost-of-living crisis.

But the behaviour of older members of Generation Z (those born in the mid- to late-1990s) is bucking this trend.

The data shows that adults under-25 are spending 28% more in pubs and bars, and 26% more on eating out, than they did in 2022 – both rises being well beyond the level of inflation.

One particular success story has been the growth of ‘competitive socialising’ – venues offering activities ranging from darts to pool to axe throwing. According to Barclays, around a quarter of adults under the age of 45 take part regularly, while 35% (including more than half of the under-25 category) expressed an interest in competitive socialising.

Despite the severe challenges the hospitality industry is facing, things are also positive from the perspective of operators.

78% of hospitality and leisure businesses surveyed expressed confidence for the forthcoming year, with the expectation that annual revenues by the end of 2023 will be 33% higher than they were at the end of 2022.

However, the dark cloud on the horizon is that business costs have risen by around 40%. Almost a quarter (23%) of operators cited energy bills as the biggest challenge faced. There has been a general reluctance, according to the report, to pass this burden onto customers, with only around 53% of these costs being reflected in price rises for consumers.

While young people may be spending more on eating and drinking, there is a general trend of drinking less, a phenomenon that has driven the on-trade growth of the no- and low-alcohol category – research commissioned by low-ABV brewer Lucky Saint found that a third of pub trips are now boozeless.

But, beyond beer and non-alcoholic cocktails, when it comes to wine, what do young people actually want?

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