Research shows that 43 per cent of consumers spend more money on drinking out at Christmas than at any other time of the year.

 

Statistics provided by data and research agency CGA revealed that 62 per cent of people visit the on-trade to eat or drink over Christmas.

In 2018, the on-trade saw a sales growth over the festive period, helped by the mild weather and the fact that Christmas fell in the middle of the week, which gave two weekends either side for people to visit pubs. 

This helped to boost overall sales of food and drink through managed outlets by 7 per cent on the previous year, with sales of food up 4.3 per cent, and drink sales rising 4.7 per cent, according to the annual CGA Christmas Report 2018.

Restaurants proved the most popular destination type, with 70 per cent of consumers going out to a restaurant during December 2018, a rise on the previous year. 

CGA director Karl Chessell said: "Mild and ice-free weather and the way Christmas falls are two of the biggest influencing factors on whether consumers choose to eat and drink out of home over the festive period.

"With Christmas Day and Boxing Day again falling mid-week this year, we should see consumers tempted out – although that does depend on the weather and public sentiment following the General Election.

"A festive sales boost will be a welcome relief to restaurant, pub and bar operators who have experienced a difficult trading year."

Key days for going out over the festive period are the Friday and Saturday before Christmas – so-called 'mad Friday' - and New Year's Eve.

But on-trade sales data shows that the festive period is beginning to extend to three weeks of celebrations as consumers start going out from the second weekend of December onwards.