Last orders for nightclubs: UK nightclub attendance drops by 34 million in 5 years

September 26, 2016

As London’s Fabric joins a long list of nightclub casualties, new research from Mintel reveals that annual admissions for the UK nightclubs industry fell by 23% in the past five years from 149 million in 2010 to just 115 million in 2015.

In the last five years alone, revenue for nightclubs has declined 21%, down from £1.49 billion in 2010 to just £1.18 billion in 2015. What’s more, the market is set to experience further losses, as revenue is set to decline a further 16%, falling below the £1 billion mark to reach £982 million in 2020. Meanwhile Mintel forecasts yearly admissions figures will fall a further 14% by 2020 to reach just 99 million.

Today, just 8% of Brits describe themselves as regular clubbers*, while 15% consider themselves occasional clubbers** and 12% describe themselves as infrequent clubbers***. And it is men that are keener to get on the dance floor, as 10% of men claim to be regular clubbers compared to 6% of women. Meanwhile almost three in ten Brits choose to avoid the dance scene entirely, with as many as 27% of Brits claiming to have never visited a nightclub.

And it it is not only admission figures that are losing their rhythm, the nightclub bar is facing stiff competition from bars and pubs as two fifths (40%) of nightclub goers visited at least one bar or pub first before going to the last nightclub they visited, rising to 52% amongst those aged 45 or over. Meanwhile a third (33%) of visitors had alcoholic drinks at home before going to a nightclub, rising to 40% of 18-24 year olds.

Less than half (46%) of visitors purchased more than one alcoholic drink during their nightclub visit, with women (49%) slightly more likely than men (43%) to buy more than one alcoholic drink. And it isn’t just drinks that are drawing clubbers away from nightclubs and into bars. Just over two fifths (43%) of Brits who have been to a nightclub prefer to go to bars with dancing areas than nightclubs, rising to 50% of 18-34 year olds.

Today, just 8% of Brits describe themselves as regular clubbers

Rebecca McGrath, Research Analyst at Mintel, said:

Fabric’s recent closure, alongside other high profile closures in recent months, highlights the increased regulatory pressure faced by nightclubs, as well as the competition they face from late night bars and pubs. Total UK nightclub revenue is also in decline as nightclubs are unable to compensate for declines in admissions through an increase in average spend per admission. High entry fees and drink prices are having a negative impact on people’s clubbing experiences, with many opting to purchase alcoholic drinks in other locations, including at home, before they get to a club. To combat this, nightclubs can concentrate on further integrating smartphones into the promotion and booking process, as well as in-club behaviour, as this holds particular appeal with key younger age groups. More event nights, live music and immersive experiences can also help reinvigorate excitement around visiting a nightclub as they will help an evening feel more unique.”

Today, the top three issues that are most likely to have a negative impact on nightclub visitors are expensive door entry (46%), expensive drinks (46%), and crowding (43%). Meanwhile, music “not being to their taste” presents an issue for around a third (36%) of nightclub goers.

Price proves much more of a barrier to male nightclub goers, as 50% of men say they are put off by expensive drinks, compared to 42% of women. Meanwhile, 48% of men complain about expensive door entry, compared to 44% of women. Women on the other hand are more likely to be concerned with aesthetics, as 38% of women are put off by the poor condition of the club, compared to just a quarter (25%) of men.

Furthermore, when it comes to music it seems consumers are looking for a change of record as almost half (46%) find it difficult to find a nightclub that plays the music that they like, while 55% of Brits who have been to a nightclub prefer to go to music concerts or festivals than nightclubs.

“Music is a very important factor for club goers, suggesting there is room for more third-party nightclub websites and apps to make searching for clubs via music type the central premise of the service, whether this means niche apps that are focused on highlighting clubs that play music of a certain genre, or general apps that categorise different types of music.” Rebecca concludes.

Finally, across the country Londoners are twice as likely to say they are regular clubbers than average, as 16% of consumers living in the capital claim to be regular clubbers. The next most likely to don their dancing shoes are consumers in the West Midlands (11%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (10%) who describe themselves as regular clubbers. In comparison, less than one in 10 consumers in the East Midlands (8%), the South West (8%), the North East (7%), the North West (6%) and Wales (6%), Scotland (5%) and the South East (5%) confess to being regular clubbers.

* Around a fortnight or more often
** More often than around every three months but less often than around a fortnight
*** Around once a year or more often but less often than once every three months

Press review copies of Mintel’s Nightclubs UK 2016 report and interviews with Research Analyst Rebecca McGrath are available on request from the press office.

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