A survey by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM has found that 75% of Brits visit the high street to eat and drink, suggesting that restaurants and bars will be pivotal in bringing people to the high street in 2018.
This increases to 87% of 18-35 year olds, demonstrating the number of millennials using the high street.
Spending time with friends and family was also a key reason to visit the high street for 68%, increasing to 82% of millennials.
Of the 2,000+ people surveyed, 72% intend to spend more or the same amount on leisure and hospitality over the next 12 months, highlighting the importance of a mix of shops, restaurants, bars and leisure on the high street.
Over half (51%) now describe themselves as ‘cost-conscious’ when spending money on eating out, clothing, homeware and technologies.
That being said, a quarter of millennials would be prepared to pay a premium to enhance the eating and drinking experience with technology, and the same proportion would be willing to pay up to 20% more for sustainable produce.
“Consumers are increasingly craving the experiential,” says RSM partner and head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman. “Gone are the days of just nipping to the shops, consumers are looking for a dynamic high street that delivers the opportunity to shop and browse whilst socialising and offering a new experience. This is particularly relevant with millennials who are looking for ‘Insta-worthy’ experiences.
“Due to the high levels of 18-35 year olds already hitting the high street, catering for this shift in demand is becoming increasingly important, so expect to see more multi-sensory experiences, new cuisines and unique offerings such as single-item menus popping up on the high street in 2018.”
Brasserie Bar Co finance director Helen Melvin explains that brands need to make sure they also speak to their audience in a way that appeals to them, rather than relying simply on the offering.
“Being agile to change and shifting demand is hugely important,” she says. “We’ve seen a marked increase in the younger demographic in our restaurants in the last few years due, in no small part, to positive changes we have made to stay relevant and make our business more appealing to this important audience.
“While RSM’s latest findings are insightful, and in parts encouraging for those high street businesses looking to stay relevant and grow, it doesn’t mean much if that which you are offering is not presented in a way that resonates.
“We shape and deliver our brand message, through relevant mediums such as Instagram, using key points of difference to stand out to entice our target audience, and present an experience that is memorable.”