A Strong Christmas for the UK On Trade with ‘Mad Friday’ delivering the Biggest Sales of the Year

London, January 2024 –

Christmas delivered a much-needed boost to the UK On Trade with the traditional ‘Mad Friday’ (the last Friday before the big day) producing a sales boost that demonstrated a resurgence to pre-pandemic drinking habits, with Draught Beer and Cider sales up +8.8% for December, with the last two weeks of the month +7.6%.

That is a whopping 290 Million Pints sold in December – +619 Extra Pints Sold Vs 2022.

For the average pub, this equated to 7,658 pints of Draught Beer & Cider served over December resulting in a £36k income generator.

In terms of location, City Centres showed a welcome revival up +8.2% vs. 2022 which was driven by a +4.7% uplift in consumer visit time and a +2.6% increase in visitor numbers – this is particularly impressive when you consider the backdrop of fewer trading hours as venues traded for -2.5% less time than in 2022.

Average consumer dwell time grew at a total level to 128 mins vs. 123 mins in the same week last year (+4.3%) with Suburbia driving the highest growth at +4.7%.

We can also see that footfall increased vs. last year up +2.6% across all locations with the biggest increases in Rural & City Centre venues as we see the welcome return of Office Parties to celebrate the festive season. Suburbia also performed well versus 2022, with all days performing ahead of last year, which is a very strong performance given the huge growth seen in 2022.

Overall, Christmas 2023 contributed 4 of the biggest sales days of 2023, which mirrors 2019 and pre-pandemic levels and echoes trends seen in the Off Trade.

With Mad Friday at no. 1, Christmas Eve came in second and became the second biggest sales day for Draught Beer and Cider in 2023.

In the last two weeks, we can see Ale, driven by Cask, as the biggest category. Stout was the big winner over the festive period +24%, with Non & Low Alcohol Craft, World Lager and Apple Cider also doing well. Yet again, the biggest loser was Premium Lager, with Core Lager and Flavoured Cider also trailing 2022’s sales.

The Top 10 Days in December show the importance of the last few days before Christmas, with the consumer returning to pre-pandemic drinking occasions over the festive season.

“We had all been hoping to see these kinds of results for the On Trade in the run up to Christmas and thankfully, our data demonstrates a really strong festive season for draught sales,” comments Alison Jordan, Chief Executive Officer of the Oxford Partnership. Data

Source:  Oxford Partnership Market Watch

December 2023 vs. December 2022

Draught volume data is powered by VIANET.

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