Bars and restaurants will be key to encouraging consumers, and millennials in particular, back to the high street in 2018, according to research from audit, tax and consultation firm RSM.
Three-quarters of UK adults questioned visit the high street to eat and drink, with 68% going to spend time with family and friends – searching for social and experiential events during days out shopping.
The number rises to 87% of 18 to 35-year-olds who go out to eat and drink, and an encouraging 72% of consumers intend ‘to spend more or the same amount on leisure and hospitality over the next 12 months’.
“Consumers are increasingly craving the experiential,” comments Paul Newman, partner and head of leisure and hospitality at RSM.
“Gone are the days of just nipping to the shops, consumers are looking for a dynamic high street that delivers the opportunity to shop and browse whilst socialising and offering a new experience; this is particularly relevant with millennials who are looking for ‘Insta-worthy’ experiences.
‘Due to the high levels of 18 to 35-year-olds already hitting the high street, catering for this shift in demand is becoming increasingly important, so expect to see more multi-sensory experiences, new cuisines and unique offerings such as single-item menus popping up on the high street in 2018.’
The survey – titled Who are Today’s Consumers? – also asked consumers whether they would pay more for time-saving technology: 21% of millennials would be prepared to pay a premium to enhance the eating and drinking experience and days outs. The same proportion would be willing to pay up to 20% more for sustainable produce.
“Being agile to change and shifting demand is hugely important,” adds Helen Melvin, finance director of Brasserie Bar Co.
“We’ve seen a marked increase in the younger demographic in our restaurants in the last few years due, in no small part, to positive changes we have made to stay relevant and make our business more appealing to this important audience.
“Whilst RSM’s latest findings are insightful, and in parts encouraging for those high street businesses looking to stay relevant and grow, it doesn’t mean much if that which you are offering is not presented in a way that resonates.
“We shape and deliver our brand message, through relevant mediums such as Instagram, using key points of difference to stand out to entice our target audience, and present an experience that is memorable.”