The Irish pub sector has seen a 6% increase in spending by UK visitors in 2017, despite a decline in visitor numbers, according to a recent report.
The sector also saw a 6% increase in turnover in card sales in the 12 months to the end of October 2017, according to the report by AIB, the leading finance provider for Ireland’s pub sector.
The report used data mined from AIB Merchant Services from card usage information and found that UK customers make up 5% of the market in the Republic.
British visitors amount to 6.1% of Dublin market customers, while making up 16.4% of total sales in Donegal, which shares a large border with Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, US visitor revenue increased by 9.1% over the past 12 months, while other markets grew by 5.6% and revenue from the domestic market increased by 5.8%.
“Strong economic growth, customer sentiment, falling unemployment and a record year for tourism means that the Irish pub sector is performing strongly and there is a sense of optimism within the sector that we haven’t seen in many years,” said David McCarthy, head of hospitality and tourism, AIB Retail and Business Banking.
Extending The Menu
Food was a key driver of growth in the sector, with food service in pubs reaching a market size of €982 million in 2017, up 3% compared to the year before. This offers a chance for pubs to diversify and harness the trend of going beyond pub grub.
Some city centre pubs now generate 80% of their turnover from credit and debit card payments, and Irish publicans are accepting card in growing numbers, according to Visa.
AIB Merchant Services has provided data on which counties see the largest UK consumer spendings in percentage.
“We can see that the overall risk of Brexit on the pub sector is not excessive and the market actually grew over the past 12 months despite a decline in UK visitor numbers,” McCarthy said.
“Some pubs do have a higher level of exposure to UK visitors and they need to be mindful of the implications of further sterling devaluations and any potential future travel restrictions post Brexit,” he added.
Ross Murray is managing director of the Murray Pub Group which includes Dublin establishments, such as Murray’s Bar & Grill, The Living Room, Fibber Magee’s, Jimmy Rabbitte’s Speakeasy and is developing the Camden de Luxe complex. He said, “In the old days pubs just sold beer and spirits and barmen chopped a few lemons. People are not as brand loyal as they were. Customers, particularly younger customers, expect and want a lot more and we have to cater for them. If we don’t, then somebody else will.”
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan