US, British drinkers beset by choice

American and British consumers want a good range of options when they go out to drink, but are increasingly overwhelmed by choice, new research by CGA Group reveals.

The findings are from a major new cross-Atlantic report that compares and contrasts trends in eating and drinking out in Britain and the US. It shows that while consumers in the two countries drink out roughly as often, the US still has a much bigger culture of eating out: Americans do so 7.9 times a month on average, compared to 4.6 times for Britons.

The report also shows that US consumers are more likely to drink soft drinks and tequila out of home, while their British counterparts over-index on wine and beer. US bars tend to be much better stocked with spirits—offering nearly 66% more spirits than the average in Britain. Four in five (82%) spirit drinkers in the US say the range that is available to them is important when they consider where to go to eat or drink.

But this can lead to feeling besieged by choice: two in five (41%) consumers in the US cite deciding what to drink as their biggest frustration when going out. By contrast, the leading gripe among British consumers is getting served—cited by nearly half (46%) of consumers as a frustration. It shows British pubs and bars need to do more to make purchases easier and faster.

The report also reveals that while three in five (59%) US spirit drinkers say visibility is an important factor in their choice, only a quarter (28%) of British drinkers do the same. More than a third (39%) of Americans value staff recommendations, compared to just one in eight (12%) British consumers.

CGA Strategy’s European CEO Phil Tate says: “This new report provides some fascinating insights into trends in Britain and the US—and shows that while our two countries are alike in our drinking habits in some respects, we are very different in others. It is striking to see that some consumers feel confused by choice, which emphasises the need for operators to provide an optimum range of options, well presented and efficiently delivered by knowledgeable staff. Pubs and bars that can achieve that will thrive in the years ahead.”

The report, titled Crossing the Pond; A CGA group investigation into consumer trends, commonalities and differentiators of the GB and US on premise, examines more current drinks trends in the US including the rise of craft options, tequila and flavoured spirits. It also outlines likely future developments and key consumer behaviours in Britain and the US. It is based on recent representative surveys of some 20,000 people in the two countries, supported by Nielsen. The report is available to purchase now.

To purchase a copy of the report, please contact Molly Nicholas molly.nicholas@cgastrategy.co.uk at CGA Strategy.