Influences on Buyer Behaviour for Choosing and Purchasing Alcohol

Executive Summary (500 Words)

[PROB] Following the 2008 recession in Britain, the nations oldest industry of Public Houses are experiencing mass decline and closure on a vast scale. With an industry, which was once at the centre of many communities, I am to understand the perceptions behind purchases, as well as the reasons consumers choose an establishment, and why they purchase certain beverages. Understanding both of these points, assist in making insightful recommendations for the future, ensuring longevity in the establishments still weathering the storm in terms of financial uncertainty, and the growing ‘drinking at home’ culture.

[LIT] Existing research in this area, although limited and through slightly differing topics shows the changing behaviour of Millennials and how impulsive behaviour over planned or habitual purchasing is changing the way modern generations access pubs. Gender divides are as big as ever, with Men purchasing the lion share of alcoholic beverages, and women being drawn to the new ‘trendy’ bars, those with aesthetically pleasing design and a modern atmosphere. Although the industry faces decline, the introduction of craft beer is providing a promising turn in sales. Food, also a major market driver is up 2%, shifting pubs from drinking establishments to versatile places to visit at all hours of the day or night, offering afternoon tea deals, catering for brunch, coffee and offering business space for meetings. Although pubs are bearing the brunt of increased costs from brewers in response to low supermarket pricing, and prices rising 8% above inflation sine 2000, introducing a customer-centric approach, prioritising consumer pull over supplier push and combining the power of social media with the draw of music events and pub quizzes, is ensuring the beer is still the drink of the pubs.

Addressing the issues where between 21 and 29 pubs close in Britain a week, a comprehensive questionnaire devised to glean an insight into buyer purchasing behaviour in alcohol sales, and decisions made with regard to patronage of specific establishments.

Reponses from the questionnaire highlighted the incentives for both choosing establishments and beverages.

Based on these insights, recommendations were made to improve both attendance within pubs in the UK, and recommendations based on buyer behaviour data, and how to improve sales at the bar.

Problem (1037)

Some disparity exists within the reporting of figures, but between 21 and 29 pubs a week in Britain are closing. These figures can however be attributed to a multitude of problems and issues that exist within the On-Trade sector. (See Figure 1)

CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) report that closures are due to the £1.21 rise in a pint, and cite this being reason for 21 pubs a week ‘calling time at the bar’, in addition to 82% of Brits stating in a CAMRA survey, that beer bought at the supermarket, with attractive bulk buy offers was ‘significantly cheaper’.

According to research conducted in 2013 by Carlsberg, consumers can be divided into 6 main groups. These are dependant on the family status, levels of commitment and age. The reasoning behind falling attendance levels varies differently throughout each group. With such a vast range of hygiene factors for each consumer profile, pubs are stuck between two choices; ‘be single minded and famous for what you do best’, or ‘be a really good all rounder’. (HPI Cardinal for Carlsberg UK, 2014)

Contributing to the issue surrounding the reduced use of public houses across Britain is the home drinking culture. A 2012 government backed report shows household drinking had increased by 1.3%, while drinking outside the home decreased by 9.8%. These figures indicate a 50% drop in out of the house socialising since 2001, where 733ml of alcohol was consumed outside of the home by the average adult. Now, just 355ml are consumed, even though 2013 was the most affordable year since 1980 to purchase alcohol in On-Trade Establishments. (See Figure 2) (The Drinks Business, 2014) (Foster & Ferguson, 2012)

The issue doesn’t cease at killing the industry; a 2012 Oxford study into the effects of drinking at home attributed the non-social aspect as detrimental to the health of those engaging regularly in the activity.

The study cannot focus solely on one area. Consumer absence is not down to a single Political, Social or Economic agenda. The issue facing British pubs is much more complex, with 65% of consumers stating they’d ‘rather go to a food pub or restaurant’; traditional drinks only establishments are struggling the most. When choosing a pub 79% of consumers pick based on quality food, with 78% opting for value for money. (Carlsberg UK, 2015/16)

2016 s indicated that drinks only pubs experienced a decline in sales of 2.9%, reducing keg sales from 3,426,000 to 3,325,000, a reduction of around 101,000 barrels. These figures are however slowing the decline experienced between 2006 and 2010 was an astounding 26.5%, the biggest slump experienced within the industry ever. This has been attributed to the large pricing divide between supermarkets, providing off-trade drinks, and pubs supplying on-trade drinks. 18 pence per pint in a pub goes on rates and taxation, compared to 2 pence experienced by the UK’s supermarkets, enabling them to supply drinks at a lower price, offering discounts and offers, as well as often supplying alcohol products as loss leaders, further enticing consumers to prefer drinking at home over venturing out to the local pub.

The focus of this study is to identify the root cause of the decline in On Trade sales, making meaningful and insightful recommendations on how to reverse the trend, and how to encourage consumers to return to Britain’s public houses and rejuvenate the once thriving British Pub Industry.

The British Pub Confederation agreed that this signals not only a decline in sales, but an increase in costs for licensees. Simon Clarke, Secretary, remarked ‘cutting a penny off pint prices is a distraction, Landlords are looking to add an extra 5 pence on to a pint due to rate rises’. (Coleman, 2017)

In addition to rate raises, the advent of coffee shops and their prominence on day-to-day life, socialising and appearances within the High Street. In recent years, the numbers of coffee shops are close to matching pub figures. (Figure 3) In London alone, 4,244 pubs are currently trading, whereas in the same areas, 3,352 coffee shops are operating. Data collected from a February 2017 poll, showed 35% of people preferred a visit to a coffee shop over stopping at the pub for a drink with friends. (Lacie-Davidson, 2017) Carlsberg UK attribute this choice, to drink driving laws, and the ease in availability of coffee shops, with Starbucks and Costa having outlets in most UK towns, and at popular attractions.

Population changes around the UK, especially when accounting for population distributing and immigration in certain areas of decline, shows how large numbers of people who follow a specific religion, and therefore don’t consume alcohol on religious grounds, also have a highly negative impact on sales of alcohol, and can be attributed to pub closures in areas such as Kidderminster, Leeds, Bradford, Leicester, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham. (McTague, 2015)

Opportunities are however available for pubs. Reinvention is possible the main area to explore. Consumers tend to visit pubs more for specific events. Offering sought after ‘gastro’ pub food, a mix of English cuisine and classic with a ‘twist’, attract modern consumers, those who wish to dine out with friends, or with their family, provided this food is of good quality and is deemed to offer value for money. Running promotions on sought after products, and often those that do not sell spark an interest and may attract customers from other pubs to either try something new, or to pick up their favourite drink at a competitive price, where food and snacks may also be consumed.

Running themed events at pubs is another potential way of boosting trade and becoming known in the area. Events such as hosting main sporting games, running karaoke or live music nights as well as pub quizzes and supporting local community organisations are known to boost the traffic a pub receives, and may encourage new ‘regulars’. The 2015/16 Carlsberg Consumer Insight data, listed that event should be ‘fun, and offering an educational element’, 45% of pub goes listed the pub quiz as the number one activity of choice. (Carlsberg UK, 2015/16)

Providing an outline of the problems and suggestions of recommendations and opportunities are key to the rejuvenation of this well loved part of British history that is the ‘English Pub!’.

Research Aims/Objectives (?)

The main aims and objectives of the investigation into choice and purchasing behaviour in on trade establishments are:

  1. Critically review existing literature available, with direct reference to both                    general buyer behaviour, and buyer behaviour that exists specifically within alcohol trade in On Licence premises.
  2. To understand why and how consumers make decisions with regards to deciding which on trade establishments to frequent.
  3. To understand how buyer behaviour is influenced by displays and back bar promotions and if purchasing decisions are pre-determined, or made at the point of sale.
  4. To understand customer perceptions of different public houses and how they may be encouraged/discouraged from becoming a patron.
  5. To reflect on the information gathered, and to make meaningful suggestions to boost trade and encourage customers to behave in a certain way.

Literature Review (2513 Words)

A 2012 Nielsen Consumer Mindset analysis focussed on how consumers in the American market engage with on trade establishments, and their behaviour when buying alcoholic beverages. Results compiled into two categories outline the buyer behaviour for alcoholic beverages in the American market.  These are as follows:


  • ‘Millennials are experimental. Attentive consumers’

Nielsen’s research discovered buying traits unique to the ‘millennial’ generation.  Attention is attracted to this core group through the use of in-store displays, new products and promotional items. As consumers move through the buyer process, habitual and planned purchases overrule the impulse purchases made by younger generations.


  • ‘Males purchase more alcoholic beverages than females’. This statistic does vary between different categories of drinks, such as cocktails, but mostly, Males are the primary purchasers of alcohol. Females appear less engaged and often purchase alcohol for friends, or other acquaintances.



  • ‘Consumers are more impulsive with pre-mixed cocktails and malt-based beverage purchases’. The Neilsen study recorded the number of planned beverage purchases at 69%. However when it comes to cocktails and malt-based beverages, impulse purchase behaviour takes over. These drinks, often of a higher price category than standard drinks, are listed by participants as ‘unplanned purchases’, but this category is one that has meant certain pubs have become renowned in some areas, and very successful in others.


  • ‘Traditional beer drinkers are planners’. Those that drink traditional beer are habitual, demonstrating this in the products they purchase, where they go and how much they consume. 78% of ‘mainstream’ beer drinkers consume the product they purchase on the same day. Marketing studies however have shown habitual behaviour can be broken, through ‘occasion marketing’, and highlighting the variety of locations in which products can be purchased and consumed.


  • ‘Craft Beer consumers are much more impulsive’. This consumer group make purchases without specific occasions in mind and are attentive to marketing triggers. This provides an opportunity for on-trade establishments to attract the ‘craft beer’ consumer group with new seasonal beers and speciality brews.


  • ‘Wine drinkers are explorers and make their purchase decisions in-store’. 37% of wine drinkers choose their variety/bottle at the point of sale. Wine drinkers are the easiest category to market to, engaging with advertising, seeking out information and relying heavily on word of mouth recommendations. (Neilsen, 2012)


The study by Neilsen, revealed the opportunities marketing holds, and the potential appeal to all alcohol consumers buy introducing themed events and promotional offers to encourage visiting on trade establishments, and purchase of additional/different beverages whilst on the premises.

A 2016 Mintel Academic report focussed on Pub Catering as a whole, taking into consideration the effects of both food and drink, and how they were both drivers and the drawbacks that may occur from offering both simultaneously in any given location.

  • ‘Sales of food through pubs increases by 2%’. Food is a major market driver when it comes to the pub trade and encouraging customers into premises. 1/3 of consumers spend extra money each month on dining experiences opposed to on drinking alone, resulting in more consumers visiting a pub to eat rather than drink. Due to this statistic, consumer demographic lies at below 25, or over 44. Consumers either without children visit, or those in a position to be able to take older children with them into the setting for meals and drinks. This study shows the need to encourage those in the 25-44 demographic to visit more often. Brands such as Harvester reap the benefit of being known as a ‘trusted, family friendly brand’, targeting advertising towards families, promoting the inclusive approaches to venturing out any day of the week, with the kids and grandparents.
  • ‘Potential for encouraging more frequent pub visits’ Consumers are very focussed on ‘British’. Whether this is food or drink, consumers are driven to seek out locally sourced food and beverages. Encouraging pubs to stock a range of locally source brews from independent breweries encourages the ‘hardcore’ real ale enthusiast into pubs, and summer events such as beer festivals encourage men to visit, whereas women are focussed on menus at new ‘gastro pubs’.
  • Social Media Influence. Loyalty rewards and digital marketing initiatives increase engagements with establishments. Loyalty schemes also drive repeat visits to pubs. Mobile applications such as Drinki focus solely on free drinks offers at selected bars within a certain time frame, boosting trade and encouraging people to visit bars on nights they wouldn’t originally consider. Implementing applications that cross these free drinks offers, along with an application that follows the principles of the Starbucks app, rewarding customers with free drinks after so many purchases, may spur young drinkers to purchase that ‘extra round’, in order to ‘level up’ or receive free drinks. Making this competitive between friends, and implementing a facility to transfer drinks to friends instead of paying each other back may again increase these visits through digital engagements.
  • Market Drivers have both positive and negative effects on pubs. On one hand, real wage growth enables consumers to spend more money on leisure activities. One of Britain’s most favourite leisure activities is visiting the pub, especially for the pub quiz. This said, alcohol consumption is on the decline, putting more pressure and focus of food sales within the On-Trade sector. Introduction of the National Living Wage had a negative impact on profitability, adding to pub costs and creating a trade off, forcing pubs to either absorb the cost, or pass this on to consumers in the form of increased pint prices. This again is not helped by the tax burden placed on pubs, which face. JD Weatherspoon (voted as Britain’s best pub for value and service and most visited pub), one of Britain’s largest pub chains launched a ‘scathing attack’ in 2015 on the inequality pubs face with regards to taxation against the supermarkets. ‘Pubs have lost 50% of their beer sales to supermarkets in the last 35 years’, with VAT jumping 12% in the same period and Supermarkets pay 2p per pint on beer, whilst pubs pay 15p. (Business Insider, 2015) With competition existing in all categories, drink and food, pubs are feeling the squeeze from supermarkets and the challenges cafes and restaurants are posing.
  • ‘Opportunities are plentiful for pubs willing to try something different’ Clawing back some market share from restaurants and cafes by offering afternoon tea deals offer an opportunity for pubs to boost off peak customers, opting to consume food and drink outside of meal times. The addition of special events and themed occasions are a popular way of boosting trade in a pub that may have experienced a decline in footfall and sales. 1 in 5 would attend a themed event, prompts into signing up for these offer a boost in figures, limited time events return a greater customer reception than open events. Men attend for festivals, whereas women are more focussed on menus and food available. Opportunities surrounding loyalty schemes highlight that only 25% have healthy finances, so benefit from incentives and points, along with loyalty schemes allowing consumers to be tracked and targeted with offers, promotions and deals. Drinki encourages Londoners out on weeknights with their notification based advertising, as well as email marketing. Running the same promotions may attract consumers into pubs in a similar way. (Mintel Academic, 2016)

The Mintel report mirrors the outcomes of the Neilsen study, and supports this research. Moving forward pubs need to engage more with their customers, offering not just beverages, but food, entertainment and ‘something different’. Creating a name for themselves and becoming ‘renowned’ for a specific element often makes or breaks an establishment, an element first introduced in this report from the Carlsberg Consumer Insight Analysis Report.

Industry Related Literature

A 2014 report, entitled ‘The Great Beer Tipping Point’ focussed on the structural changes to the ‘ancient art of ale housing’ with claims this can be dated back to the 1500’s. Highlighted data from this research indicated ‘pubs are no longer the main places people drink beer’. These reinforce the points raised by academic articles published by Neilsen and Mintel.

  • ‘2014 beer sales through the off-trade exceeded beer sales in the on-trade’. This year presented the biggest shift in favour of one channel of sales since 1980, where 88% of beer was purchased through on-trade establishments. This is now attributed to the decline in heavy industry, and change in post-work social habits. Combining this with the new challenges facing pubs from restaurants, coffee shops and ‘above all, the home’, where instead of visiting the pub for sports fixtures and social elements, this can now all be accessed through home entertainment systems, the internet and other forms of social activity. This is a result of the advent of widescreen TV’s, ‘gastropub’ ready meals available in supermarkets and home entertaining becoming a good way to ‘show off’ the extent and capital spent on home improvements.
  • BPPA (British Beer & Pub Association) statistics indicate price rises in 2000 outstripped inflation by 8%, whereas off-licence costs saw beer princes rise a mere 6%. The price difference in 2014 between a pub pint, and a supermarket pint had risen to £2.05, with a pub pint average cost being £3.28, and a supermarket pint retailing for £1.23. In addition to this, the ‘beer duty escalator’ drove up the tax on beer by 42% in four consecutive years.
  • Distribution costs by brewers place a burden on pubs at the benefit of supermarket sales. Between 2013 and 2015 ale costs had increased 3%, whilst lager rose 4.5%. Pub owners attributed this as a levy on pub sales, in response to the low prices supermarkets are willing to pay brewers for their products. Consumers ‘twigging’ that on-trade ‘surcharges’ exist, only contributes to the issue as brewers try and fill the void in lost supermarket revenues through the on trade.
  • ‘As a share, beer is still the drink of the pubs’. 70% of alcoholic beverages consumed at pubs is made up from beer. Decline in this has slowed; but shocks such as the beer duty escalator, smoking ban and increased regulation have all contributed to the decline experienced.
  • Recovery. SIBA and Cask Marque reports highlighted the necessity tackling over regulation, VAT and the supermarkets to raise the performance of beer purchases within pubs, matching the range and availability of supermarket beers and introducing increasing lines of ‘cask ale’, which is predicted to make up 20% of the market by 2020. (Mellows, 2014)

Specialised Industry Publication ‘The Publican’, published year awards recognising success of Britain’s favourite and most innovative/engaging pub brands. NWTC’s ‘The Botanist’, Britain’s favourite new pub brand opened 7 sites focussing mainly on the North West and the Midlands, engages with customers through it’s botanical infused cocktail style drinks, focussing on the ‘new’, engaging with female consumers, and offering a ‘stylistic emphasis on ingredients’. Interior design plays an important part in encouraging Millennials, along with their focus on an ‘imaginative’ range of cocktails with a key theme of botany and emphasis on presentation. (The Publican, 2016)

Continuing on this theme, Mitchells & Butlers ‘Sizzling’ brand reports success after introducing a ‘slick new teal colour scheme’ which they report has increase female traffic to the bars, and 2016 newcomer Urban Art Bars, who capitalise on entertainment, hosting frequent music events, including hosting guests such as Rudimental, driving up interest and also offering a very popular Thursday night pub quiz.

Mitchells & Butlers 2015 Harpers article, focussed on understanding the buyer-to-buyer aspects of the industry, and how to work with the on-trade. Mitchells & Butlers, one of Britain’s largest umbrella groups for pub, refers to their customers as guests, and with 17 fascias comprising of 1600 outlets, Mitchells and Butlers has a fair few guests!

  • M&B, owners of Britain’s favourite pubs such which include Toby Carvery, Miller & Carter, Vintage Inns, Harvester, All Bar One and O’Neills sell around 34,000 bottles of wine every single day. Their key to success is being ‘guest-centric’, prioritising consumer pull over supplier push. The challenge to this when operating many brands under the different umbrellas is maintaining individuality, and focussing on unique consumer requirements.

Often the greatest mistake of a bar or pub is to believe they have a ‘good product’, without considering the other ‘good products’ that exist on the same shelf, or in the specific context of on-trade establishments, other bars that exist in the same street. A vital aspect is to discover the biggest point of difference.

  • Mitchells and Butlers have adopted their own method of covering the ‘Whole Nine Yards’, with the ‘Holistic Nine Yards’. Understanding the guest and their requirements first, and focussing secondly on the product is their key to success. Understanding the differences in the customer base, and adapting to the requirements of the demographic, as well as accounting for varying habits and the individual nature of the consumer.
  • Their final point, understanding their matrix and consumer behaviour focuses on engaging at a category-planning level, being ‘guest obsessed’ and ensuring each product is appropriate at each level. Consumers are visiting more often during the day, spending has diversified from purely alcohol and beer purchases, to lunch, coffee, brunch and in some cases transformed the pub into a place to hold meetings. Consumer spending is less ‘evening-centric’, and understanding the effects this has on the industry as a whole, and how the shift from beer into wine impacts the spending patterns of the consumer.

Throughout all areas of pre-existing research, similar themes supporting the initial predication of this investigation. Consumer behaviour is changing throughout the modern generations, with Millennials displaying impulsive and consumeristic behaviours. This research shows consumers are far more loyal to an atmosphere, ‘scene’ or an on trend product, than they are to a standard drink, or establishment.

Consumers are looking to follow the next big trend, or are yearning to be in with the crowd or at the ‘place to be seen’.

Providing a firm grounding throughout the themes with little to no conflicting views or outlandish schools of thought, provide a firm basis in which to continue and conclude new and additional research provided by this report.

Gaps do however exist in the understanding of why consumers purchase certain beverages, and which methods to adopt to encourage them to purchase additional beverages. It is stated that malted drinks and cocktails are impulsive purchases, but these often occur at the beginning or end of a drinking ‘session’, and therefore aren’t versatile enough to be promoted all night.

Little data exists currently on the impact that 2-4-1; Happy Hours and Drinki have on increasing and changing the purchase behaviour of those visiting On-Trade establishments.

With regards to conflicting data, the number of pubs reportedly closing, and the increase or decline of beverages such as real and cask ales seem to house inconsistencies, however this research does not possess the ability to provide accurate figures, or correctly update the ones already available.

This research does therefore remain consistent with current themes, and aims to build on existing research, providing meaning and insights into how consumers make buying decisions, and therefore predict how sales can increase for certain lines or ranges of beverages made available by the On-Trade.

Methodology (2500)

Identifying a problem, mainly the decline and stagnation of sales of alcohol through the on-trade, lead this research in finding out the methods encouraging consumption and the reasoning behind purchasing and buyer behaviour. Through understanding what makes consumers choose a certain establishment in which to purchase drinks, their purchasing behaviour once inside a public house and once at the bar, how do upsales occur, encouraging consumers to purchase profitable lines and other products.

Completing primary research in order to understand the consumer behaviour existing in on-trade purchases was vital. To carry this out effectively, a questionnaire was constructed. This is considered the most efficient form of data collection, enabling a large quantity of responses to be collected relatively easily. Questionnaires can often be affiliated with both the positivism and interpretivism approaches of research. Throughout the entire process of conducting a questionnaire, the focus must be on the validity and accuracy of data, ensuring reliable information is collected and relevant.

Within a questionnaire, three main forms of questions exist.

Open, Closed and Scale questions. Open questions collect qualitative data, and enable the respondent to provide an answer in prose, giving them freedom to express themselves freely and answer a question in any manner or direction.

Closed questions provide mainly quantitative data, where participants of the survey will be able to select a limited number of options to complete their answer. Occasionally an ‘Other’ box will be provided to allow for some answers not being able to be fully foreseen.  (Saunders et al., 2012)

Whilst conducting research, a structured, closed questionnaire was used and distributed to a wide range of participants, at bar locations, and through online sources. Participants volunteering their time and responses outside of bar settings were mainly students and staff within Pearson College London, and personal contacts. Participants within bar settings consisting of a random sample of members of the general public, who are willing to participate.

Before releasing the survey for online completion, through acquaintances at Pearson College London, and family connections, a Pilot was conducted. This enabled feedback to be given before the full study, and ‘iron out’ any issues encountered. As a result of the pilot, I was able to check for any inconsistencies or anomalous data before receiving a large number of responses, saving both time and resources. Through this process, I was able to provide clarification and receive feedback on questions that posed a risk of being ambiguous, as well as provide guidance or thoughts on any additional questions that should be included. (University of Illinois, 2001)

For the main survey, the focus was both Internet and interview based. Internet responses ensured anyone contacted via email, that had basic computer literacy could complete the study. Reaching participants by email meant large groups of potential candidates could be reach simultaneously, and had the ability to ensure correct participants were contacted and ensure the intended recipients had responded to the survey.

Bias with internet questionnaires remains low, ensuring questions were not leading, and allowing participants to complete in a neutral and non-guided fashion meant the levels of distortion remained low.

Geographically, the population surveyed was large and dispersed. Responses were gathered from every UK region except the West Midlands. This ensured the survey was representative of each UK region, and distribution via the Internet meant completion was effective.

Response rate for the number of potential participants contacted was good, with an 85% response rate, compared to the 30-50% average usually experienced for surveys distributed via the Internet.

Length was within prescribed parameters of 6-8 pages, with 11 questions and took approximately 5 minutes to complete.

Response time was average, from publication in mid-March, to closing responses towards the end of April, 4-6 weeks had elapsed.

The nature of the questionnaire, and the closed question format, ensured the analysis through Tableau was simple and quick to complete. This software is free to use for academic purposes, and with little training, meaningful and insightful data comparisons can be made. (Saunders et al., 2012)

Information gleaned from secondary research, and displayed in the previous Literature Review section, focussed mainly on industry and revenue trends, instead of direct consumer behaviour. This aimed to focus on what consumers were purchasing, but did not approach the reasoning or the why aspect of consumer behaviour.

Constructing and completing a questionnaire for this investigation was beneficial and satisfied my criteria, as well as filling the gaps in the existing research that aimed to understand buyer behaviour within the On-Trade.

Conducting the questionnaire provided a practical and hands on approach to collecting data. This ensured I maintained an understanding of the entire process, from start to finish. Using Google Forms is free and easy, enabling me to collect a large amount of data, in a relatively short period of time, with little or no cost.

With the integration Google Forms has to export data to Excel, and in turn the ability Tableau has to perform tasks based on these request, a large quantity of data could be turned into quantifiable information with little knowledge and turned around in a very short space of time.

A combination of all these factors enables data collected to be analysed objectively, and used to compare and contrast the other methods of research critiqued throughout the literature review. (University of Surrey, 2004)

This method could be reproduced periodically, and would update changes, maintain validity and track trends and changes within the on-trade alcohol purchase industry. The reproducibility of this study, emphasises the validity it holds, and adds context and relevance to the works critiqued as part of the literature review.

Question Possible Responses Justification
Age 18-24 






Separating consumers in age groups assists in pulling trends from specified groups, and understanding data based on age. Also, ensuring no option exists for under 18’s prevents underage drinkers participating. All Objectives may be subjective dependant on age categorisation.
Sex Determination Male 


Data collected may differ based on sex determination. Objective 2 may show specific results dependant on this.
Location North East 

North West

Yorkshire & The Humber

West Midlands

East Midlands

East of England


South East

South West



Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Buyer behaviour may differ greatly dependant on regions. Studying regional behaviour will enable targeted results to be generated and a greater overall understanding of consumer behaviour gleaned from this.
Annual Household Income Less than £10,000 

£10,001 – £20,000

£20,001 – £30,000

£30,001 – £40,000

£40,001 – £50,0000


Additionally, income brackets may greatly influence establishments consumers choose, and the drinks they consume inside them.
What Makes You Choose a Drinking Establishment Location (Close to Work/Home/Friends/University/Other Location) 

Loyalty (Always visit the same pub, wouldn’t consider going anywhere else)

Price (Cheapest Drinks)

Offers (Follow the deals, Happy Hours, 2-4-1 Offers, Drinki etc)

Selection (Only pub to serve Guinness, cocktails, certain spirits etc.)

‘Place to be Seen’


Live Sports Available

Karaoke/Quiz Night/Live Music

Celebrity Endorsements/Hotspot

Organised Club Meetings

Gaming Machines

Dating Opportunities

Understanding how and why a consumer targets one location over another, will provide insights into how to make a premises more appealing to a consumer, and whether this is through atmosphere, events, offers or products for sale.
Does the Day of the Week Influence your Decisions? How? Yes 


Other _____________

Understanding day trends assists in meeting objectives 2 and 4.
When Buying a Drink, Do You… Know before you enter the pub what your order it 

Decide once you’re inside, but before approaching the bar

Decide whilst at the bar, seeing the selection on offer (On the bar [beers], in the fridges, selection on the back bar)

Decide whilst at the bar dependant on offers/deal (Double up for £1 etc.)

Stick with what you’ve been drinking all night

Someone else chooses/buys

Dependant on who I’m with

Assists in understanding information related t objective 3 and 4. How displays influence purchasing behaviour.
If you decide on the Selection at the Bar, is it Because I choose from favourites on display in the fridge, or on the back bar 

Seeing various deals advertised at eh bar helps me choose

Bartender’s Recommendations

Friend’s Recommendations

Matching what others are drinking

Understanding influences of displays on consumer perception (objective 3)
Do you ever upgrade your drink? (i.e. Single to Double, Half Pint to Pint etc.…) Yes 


Prequel requirement for next question
If Yes, is this because… The bartender asks ‘is that a double’ 

Friends influence your upgrade

Merchandiser Offers (E.g. Someone offering 10 shots for £10

Because you want to

Always drink that drink as a double


Objective 3, understanding the use of promotions and the effects on buyer behaviour.
Do you ever choose a drink because it’s ‘on trend’ (i.e. Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire etc.…) Yes 



Insight information on how ‘on trend’ beverages perform against standard drinks.

Findings (1000)


Sex Determination


Annual Household Income

What Makes You Choose a Drinking Establishment

Does the Day of the Week Influence you Decisions

When Buying a Drink, Do You…

If You Decide on the Selection at the bar, is it Because…

Do you ever upgrade your drink? (i.e. Single to Double, Half Pint to Pint etc.)

If Yes, is this because…

Do you ever choose a drink because it’s ‘on trend’ (ie Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire etc…)

Discussions/Recommendations (2500)

Cutting VAT/Duty – Pricey pints blamed as 21 British pubs a week call time at the bar Guardian




Business Insider, 2015. Wetherspoons just went to war with Britain’s government over taxes and wage hikes. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2017].

Carlsberg UK, 2015/16. Consumer Insights Report. Report. Northampton: Carlsberg UK Carlsberg UK.

Coleman, L., 2017. Pub beer sales down 2.9%. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2017].

Foster, J.H. & Ferguson, C.S., 2012. Home Drinking in the UK: Trends and Causes. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 47(3), pp.355-58.

HPI Cardinal for Carlsberg UK, 2014. Carlsberg UK’s Consumer Insights Report 2014. Report. Northampton: Carlsberg UK HPI Cardinal.

Lacie-Davidson, M., 2017. ‘Tea, coffee… or a pint?’ Is our caffeine obsession drowning pub culture in London? [Online] Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2017].

McTague, T., 2015. Pubs closing because traditional working class areas have been taken over by Muslims who don’t drink, claims Lib Dem minister. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 27 April 2017].

Mellows, P., 2014. The Great Beer Tipping Point. Morning Advertiser, pp.30-32.

Mintel Academic, 2016. Pub Catering – UK – May 2016. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2017].

Neilsen, 2012. EXPLORING THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONSUMER’S MINDSET. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 28 April 2017].

The Drinks Business, 2014. SPEND SHOWS TREND FOR AT-HOME DRINKING. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2017].

The Publican, 2016. The Publican Awards. Morning Advertsier, pp.43-49.





See how the rest of the UK measured up:

1. Cardiff: 203 coffee shops, 236 pubs

2. London: 3.352 coffee shops, 4,244 pubs

3. Belfast: 196 coffee shops, 276 pubs

4. Birmingham: 323 coffee shops, 467 pubs

5. Newcastle: 196 coffee shops, 292 pubs

6. Manchester: 501 coffee shops, 778 pubs

7. Brighton: 157 coffee shops, 255 pubs

8. Coventry: 98 coffee shops, 165 pubs

9. Edinburgh: 254 coffee shops, 477 pubs

10. Leeds: 236 coffee shops, 459 pubs

11. Liverpool: 316 coffee shops, 635 pubs

12. Glasgow: 331 coffee shops, 727 pubs

13. Leicester: 118 coffee shops, 271 pubs

14. Sheffield: 196 coffee shops, 463 pubs

15. Bristol: 236 coffee shops, 696 pubs

16. Bradford: 72 coffee shops, 213 pubs

17. Wakefield: 52 coffee shops, 167 pubs

18. Nottingham: 150 coffee shops, 506 pubs

19. Hull: 65 coffee shops, 250 pubs

20. Sunderland: 33 coffee shops, 129 pubs



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