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UK pubs must make ‘digital shift’

By Retail Technology | Tuesday August 20 2013

New report finds a failure to meet or exceed 'Gen Y' demands for e-marketing and free Wi-Fi from local boozers

A new report has revealed that British pubs are failing to keep up with the needs and demands made by the young, digitally-savvy population - dubbed 'Generation Y' or '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. For this age group, the web has overtaken as number one dating venue, where nearly one in five (19%) have met a future partner this way in the past year.
 
The ‘Pub of the Future’ report is based on an online survey of 2,042 UK consumers carried out by research company Censuswide, commissioned by the Casio Business Solutions Division. The survey found that Gen Y is looking for pubs that embrace these digital trends and that their requirements differ from other age groups. For example, they said that they were 67% more likely than their elders (Generation X) to choose a pub offering Wi-Fi services, and 70% were more likely to select a pub that offers individual discounts and offers tailored to them.

Essential digital engagement
 
The study, developed in partnership with the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Punch Taverns, highlighted that pubs have not yet engaged with this digital revolution. Three quarters (75%) do not provide customer loyalty schemes; 78% do not offer individually tailored discounts; 91% do not offer personalised digital marketing communications, and over two thirds (67%) 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 showed that, in a climate where 18% 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% of young people declare they would be upset if their local pub were to close down.
 
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.”
 
Avoiding last orders for industry

Recent industry research, which found that 26 pubs close down each week, which is a stark warning that pubs must attract a broader range of customers. Technology and personalised marketing communications emerged in the report out as important future tools. When asked how the pub will have changed ten years from now, one in five (21%) of Gen Y thought pubs will have embraced improved loyalty schemes for local people and 29% believed customers would 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.”

Casio’s ‘Pub of the Future’ report is available to download after registration here. 

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