Offering new products and innovative serves is key
A POINT of difference and a strong product range are key considerations for operators seeking to win over the young adult market.
And it seems it’s not just older consumers who are demanding higher standards when on a night out.
Drinks firms say pub-goers in the 18 to 30 demographic also expect operators and bar staff to go the extra mile to deliver the best experience possible.
“Outlets need to give young adult customers good reasons to keep returning,” said Debs Carter, marketing director at SHS Drinks, the firm behind WKD.
“Young adults love to try new things so if outlets can refresh their offer – be that in terms of new drinks, innovative ways to serve drinks, great promotions or different themed party nights – then consumers won’t need to venture elsewhere and repeat trade will build.”
Great drinks made with premium brands are vital.
There’s little point in planning an event or theme night if customers don’t know about it, however.
Communicating with young adult consumers is also crucial, according to Jim Grierson, on-trade sales director at Maxxium UK, whose brands include Sourz.
“Advertising events well in advance, whether this be specially themed or seasonally focused evenings, will allow operators to promote products and serves to a market eager to celebrate the occasions with friends,” he said.
But Grierson stressed that events alone aren’t enough to retain young adult customers; quality customer service is also essential. He said that “great drinks made with premium brands, served by friendly, knowledgeable staff are vital”.
“First impressions always count,” he added.
Product range is an important consideration for any licensed premises, and getting it right in time for the start of the new university and college term is key, say drinks firms.
“Keeping ahead of the latest trends is essential to ensure high rate of sale,” said Gemma Copping, marketing director at Chilli Marketing, the firm responsible for marketing and distributing Swedish cider brand Rekorderlig in the UK.
“Ranges will only sell if there is consumer demand.
“By planning a product range ahead of a new university term operators can ensure they have a current and innovative offer to help drive rate of sale year round.”
The importance of keeping abreast of trends in the marketplace was also highlighted by Simon Green, marketing director of Global Brands, whose portfolio includes VK and Hooch.
Value for money continues to be an important issue for young adults.
“Operators should consider reviewing their drinks ranges ahead of the new university term to keep up with current trends and new products,” said Green.
“It is important to take note of brands which are investing in and supporting the trade, offering innovative serves and SKUs specifically tailored towards the young adult market.”
The new university term was also cited by Dave Turner, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises, as a key opportunity for boosting soft drinks sales.
“As Freshers’ Week kicks off at universities and colleges, new students will be getting together and making friends up and down the country,” said Turner.
“Soft drinks and socialising go hand in hand.
“Pubs and bars can take advantage of Freshers’ Week to drive extra sales of those particular soft drinks that will appeal to the student population.”
As with other customer demographics, value for money continues to be an important issue for young adult consumers, according to Julie Ingham, marketing manager of drinks firm CWF, the company behind vodka shot brand Lixx.
“While the majority of consumers are continuing to keep an eye on household finances the situation is even more sensitive for young adults, juggling the need to pay university fees or get a foot on the property ladder with the desire to go out and enjoy themselves with their friends,” said Ingham.
“With socialising being a key part of life for this audience, however, it offers licensees significant potential to drive sales and profits.
“Those in the on-trade should think about who this young adult audience is and align their ranges with this knowledge.”
Spirits, and shots in particular, remain popular with young adults.
Jägermeister UK group marketing manager Nicole Goodwin attributed the growth to “experimental consumers who are looking to extend their drinking repertoires with new and exciting drinks”.
“The ice cold shot currently represents the biggest growth opportunity to licensees, demonstrating the strength of the serve and its popularity amongst young adults and other consumers,” said Goodwin.
James Watt of BrewDog underlined the importance of delivering the ‘perfect serve’, saying “whatever your age, people should be drinking to enjoy the taste and quality”.