Eating out is increasingly being viewed as a treat in this demographic, with treat missions representing a 14% share in occasions in the 12 weeks to September 17, 2023, according to Lumina Intelligence.
For the 18–24-year-old age range, occasions are also more likely to be for a date night, drinks after work, or watching sports over the weekend.
Operators should therefore capitalise on special occasions and seasonal events using special offers and targeted marketing, advises Lumina.
Experiential dining is another growing trend identified by Lumina, with 63% of young consumers being very experienced led, ahead of the market average.
Lumina data shows that QSR and retail are the top trading channels for young consumers compared to market average, as many 18–24-year-olds continue to feel the pinch during the cost of living crisis.
Young consumers are increasingly opting for drink only occasions, increasing to 27% of out of home occasions in the 12 weeks to September 17, 2023.
Demand for drink-only occasions in this demographic is driving an increase in pubs and bars, and coffee and sandwich shop channels, representing a 12% and 19% channel share respectively.
QSR remained the largest channel, at 31% of occasions during the same period.
Young consumers are opting for more beer occasions at the expense of spirits, with beer up 38%. However, there has also been an increase in proportion of young consumers not drinking alcohol, suggesting there is a greater demand for non-alcoholic and low alcohol offerings. Young people made up a higher percentage of non-drinkers, compared to market average, representing 29% of 18–24-year-olds (an increase of 5ppts) compared to 13% of the overall market.
For this reason, Lumina highlights an opportunity for operators to improve premium soft drink offerings.