Research - UK drinkers trade up when out, trade down when home

By | 4 May 2010

UK drinkers are drinking less of their preferred brands in the country's on-trade, looking to trade down only at home, according to recent research.

Trade analyst Datamonitor has looked at the drinking behaviour of consumers around the world, and concluded that drinkers in the UK are going for quality and not quantity, “or at least that's what they want people to know”.

Consumers are refusing to let economic worries influence their favourite drink when out with family and friends in pubs and restaurants, Datamonitor says in its report 'The Future of Spirits: Capitalizing on New Opportunities and Preferences'. Once back at home, however, consumers are happier to trade down to lower cost alcohol.

“It’s typical keeping up with the Jones’ behaviour just exaggerated during the recession,” says Richard Parker, senior consumer insights analyst at Datamonitor. “In a significant number of cases, people are actually trading-up, so rather than drinking two or three bottles of house wine with a meal, they’re splurging on one top-end bottle.

“Although people are sticking with quality, they’re drinking less, impacting on the bottom-line of the industry," Parker continues. "Companies that have introduced offers and cut their prices will struggle to maintain a reputation for being a premium product.

“As a result people will start to trade-up to new products and experiment, so we can expect to see those products that have spent money on innovation do well.”

Expert analysis

The Future of Spirits: Capitalizing on New Opportunities and Preferences

The spirits market has benefited from consumers' shifts away from beer and their trading up tendencies. However, this does not mean that the category has been immune from the economic downturn. Success is increasingly dependent on balancing traditional values that characterize quality with positioning that takes advantage of the category's renewed social currency among newer consumers.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Soft drinks, Spirits, Water, Wine

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Research - UK drinkers trade up when out, trade down when home

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