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UK pubs must make ‘digital shift’ - new report

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A new report has revealed that British pubs are failing to keep up with the young, digitally-savvy population, now dubbed “Generation Y” or The Millennials, putting them at risk of alienating this crucial target market and harming long term survival hopes.

A study of 2,000 UK consumers has shown that Millennials, who have grown up with technology as part and parcel of everyday life, have placed the internet at the heart of their social lives.

Guy Boxall, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Casio said: “It’s clear that pubs aren’t doing enough to stay relevant to the crucial 16-24 age group. To secure its long-term future, the industry needs to make a shift – and this research suggests that will be driven by digital trends.”

Consequently, the ‘Pub of the Future’ report by Casio’s Business Solutions Division shows that “Generation Y” is looking for pubs that embrace these digital trends and their requirements differ from other age groups. For example, they are 67 per cent more likely than their elders (Generation X) to choose a pub offering Wi-Fi services, and 70 per cent more likely to select a pub that offers individual discounts and offers tailored to them.

The study, developed in partnership with the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Punch Taverns, highlights that pubs, which are closing down at a rate of 26 a week, have not yet engaged with this digital revolution. Three quarters do not provide customer loyalty schemes; 78 per cent do not offer individually tailored discounts, 91 per cent do not offer personalised digital marketing communications, and over two thirds (67 per cent) do not offer their customers Wi-Fi.

This is despite the fact that young people are showing particular loyalty towards the pub industry. The report shows that, in a climate where 18 per cent of the population no longer use pubs in their local area, 16-24s are over twice as likely to use them, most likely to meet with friends or go on a date. In support of this, 30 per cent of young people declare they would be upset if their local pub were to close down.

Commenting on how to avoid pubs closing, 15 per cent of the Millennial age group say pubs need to understand their customers better, placing the emphasis on the industry to get to grips with the digital world and the importance it now has for so many of its punters.

Much has been made of the role the pub plays in people’s love lives with 37 per cent of people in Newcastle having found love in the pub. Birmingham has the liveliest dating scene with 11 per cent of the population using the pub to date.

Technology and personalised marketing communications are clearly sounded by the report out as important future tools. When asked how the pub will have changed ten years from now, one in five (21 per cent) of Gen Y think pubs will have embraced improved loyalty schemes for local people, and 29 per cent believe customers will be able to order products digitally from their table.

Boxall added: “To the young people of today, online social currency converts into real-world social activities. By tapping into this untouched digital demographic, pubs could soon see a noticeable boost to their profits.”

Published on Tuesday 27 August by Editorial Assistant

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