The Budget And Pubs-NPD Group Release Covid Analysis

Industry sector analysists the NPD Group have released its the very latest NPD Group research on the pandemic’s impact on the hospitality sector in 2020 In particular, its data on pubs:

Pubs – the worst hit sector in the commercial eating out market in 2020

Visitor numbers and spend 2020 vs 2019

There was a -51% decline in visits during 2020 and a -50% decline in spend.

Total pub visits in 2019 were 1,251m (1.3bn) vs 609m visits in 2020.

Total pub spend in 2019 was £10,741m (£10.7bn) versus £5,330m (£5.3bn) in 2020.

The average trips per buyer fell by -32.3% in 2020 vs. 2019, from 21.0 to 14.2.

Lockdown stats

Pub visits and spend declined by -79% during two lockdowns and tiering in Q4.

-79% decline in visits during lockdown #1 (Mar-May 2020), and a -79% decline in spend.

-89% decline in visits during lockdown #2 (Nov 2020), and an -87% decline in spend.

The total number of pub customers decreased by -22.8% in 2020 vs. 2019, from 20.6m to 15.9m.


The NPD Group estimates that 2,500 pubs shut permanently during 2020. The majority were independents.

Pubs and Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO)

2020’s EOTHO scheme helped increase pub visits by 61m between July and August last year. Over 35m of this increase (58% of total increase) was from visits on a deal (most likely EOTHO).

During EOTHO in August, pubs saw a 7% increase in average spend per eater vs. August 2019.

Visits on a deal (where a promotion or voucher was used) accounted for almost half (48%) of all pub visits, compared to just 20% in August 2019.

Dominic Allport, Insights Director (Foodservice), The NPD Group on Pubs

“Will the measures the Chancellor announced this afternoon prevent further pub closures between now and the 12th April when we can go back to dining and drinking al fresco? That’s six weeks away, meaning another 200-300 permanent pub closures could occur. To save the Great British Pub we needed something extraordinary, and the lack of measures to help pubs specifically will be disappointing news for many struggling landlords. The levelling up fund where communities can raise match funding to save beleaguered pubs works where there’s an active, motivated community but it won’t stem the sharp losses.

So, what can pubs do to help themselves between now and 12th April? They can maximise the use of delivery which has been so vital for other parts of the foodservice industry. Last year only 3% of pub visits were delivery compared to 16% across the total market. One advantage many (not all) pubs have – if they can hang on to 12th April – is outside space. Now is the time for landlords to think creatively about ways to serve as many punters as possible in gardens, courtyards, car parks and pavements. Apply for pavement licences now using the fast-tracked Business and Planning Act. With takeaway alcohol back on the menu, and a welcome freeze on duty, it’s crucial to make the maximum use of these short-term measures too.

Pubs are part of the fabric of Britain, of our local communities – not to mention they are a tourist attraction. Many have stood for hundreds of years. I hope everyone in the UK will make a point of visiting their local boozer as soon as they can to show support – let’s not let this pandemic call time on The Crown, The Coach and Horses, The Bricklayers Arms, The Three Tuns or The Queen’s Head. As we come out of this crisis, we’re going to need our local pubs more than ever. We look forward to the days when the pumps are pumping, fryers frying and the juke boxes playing.”