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UK bars and pubs to recover fully by 2024

The value of the UK’s bar and pub market is forecast to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to a new report.

In 2024, the bar and pub industry is expected to exceed its 2019 value

Insights service Lumina Intelligence has released its UK Pub & Bar Market Report 2021, which expects the industry to recover to nearly two-thirds (64%) of its pre-pandemic value this year, growing to £14.8 billion (US$20.2bn).

Prior to the pandemic, the market was worth £23bn (US$31.5bn), but after facing more than a year of Covid-19 related closures and restrictions, bars and pubs have seen value decline by approximately £9bn (US$12.3bn), to £13.9bn (US$19bn).

By 2024, the market is expected to exceed its 2019 value, reaching £23.4bn (US$32bn).

Katherine Prowse, senior insight manager at Lumina Intelligence, said: “Despite a catastrophic last 18 months, the market will not only fully recover by 2024, but also outpace value growth in the total eating out market.

“The legacies of the pandemic present significant opportunities to operators and will remain key to market recovery.”

According to Lumina Intelligence, deliveries accounted for 50% of pub and bar occasions during lockdown. Prowse said the adoption of digital tools during the pandemic has resulted in a “quicker, more seamless customer journey”, which many customers are now used to and prefer.

She said: “As well as offering a better experience, digital ordering and payment gives operators access to valuable data that allows them to understand their customers better.”

The report also revealed that ‘managed, branded and franchised pubs’ are set for the strongest recovery, with a greater proportion of sites able to capitalise on delivery and takeaway opportunities in the first half of the year.

Since March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the hospitality industry, costing it £100.2 billion (US$140bn) in trading losses.

The negative impact of restricted trading environments has been compounded by no-shows, with a recent study finding that customers not showing up to bookings costs the UK sector £17.6bn (US$24.2bn) each year.

Furthermore, as the hospitality industry gradually reopens with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, nightclub venues in Wales are having to require vaccine passports for guest entry, to the dismay of trade bodies. A similar Covid passport scheme was put on hold in England.

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