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Young adults avoid booze on nights out

Nearly half of young adults who regularly go on a late night out do not consume alcohol, a new study by Rekom revealed.

Rekom nightclub
Rekom operates nightclubs including Pryzm and Oceana

The UK’s biggest late-night operator released its Rekom Night Index report, which surveyed a sample of 2,252 adults aged 18 and over in November, including 1,000 18-21 year olds and 500 students.

It found that many who do go out on a regular basis are avoiding alcohol (45.9%). This was particularly common among those aged between 25 and 34 (54.3%). More than half (52%) said they drink less alcohol on a night out compared to year ago, rising to 59.7% for 25 to 34 year olds and among students this was 48.5%.

The average spend on a night out has also dropped by 2.1% to £73.19 (US$93) compared to July 2023 (£74.78). This is now in line with October last year when the average spend was £73.36, Rekom found.

Price is the top concern for 44% of consumers when contemplating a night out, signalling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, Rekom said.

While students used to typically go out mid-week, the poll found that Saturday has overtaken Friday as the most popular day of the week for nights out (67.9%) for students.

Peter Marks, chairman of Rekom UK, said: “People are still going out less and spending less money. The high rents, which haven’t adjusted for the tough economic conditions affecting businesses across the sector, make for difficult trading.

“We have had to think prudently about our business decisions, whether that’s choosing to no longer open early mid-week to focusing our efforts on the bar sector, which offers an extended trading timeframe and appeals to a broader demographic.”

The study also found that drinkers now tend to plan their night outs and pre-book venues.  Nearly half (47.5%) claim to prioritise planned social events over a spontaneous night out, with just 26.4% opting for unscheduled nights out. Among the main reasons cited for planning ahead were to guarantee a seat or area at the venue (22.7%), a birthday celebration (21.8%), and a ticketed event (20%).

Social media is also playing an increasing role in helping consumers choose their night outs, with 25.1% using Instagram and 24% favouring TikTok. The latter platform was the most popular with students.

Russell Quelch, operations director at Rekom UK, added: “In line with the results of the survey, we’ve also noticed the increasing popularity of non-alcoholic drinks, along with a huge uptick in pre-booking venues or seating areas as people shun the spontaneous night out for a pre-arranged event, such as for a birthday or celebration.

“We’re adapting our offering accordingly to meet these changes in consumer demand, and we are prioritising our bars where the space is multi-functional. By providing areas for dining, drinks and dancing, we can accommodate a diverse range of preferences and cater to everyone’s needs.”

Rekom operates nightclubs including Oceana, Pryzm, Cameo, and Bar and Beyond, following its merger with UK late-night operator Deltic in 2020.

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