Nightclubs - UK - May 2013
“The condition and appeal of the nightclub sector appears to be slowly deteriorating, particularly amongst over-25s. Clubs may well be forced to re-invent their proposition, as over-reliance on 18-24s and students is dangerous should volume projections for the next few years hold true.”
– Paul Davies, Senior Leisure Analyst
Some questions answered in this report include:
- How much of a threat are hybrid bar imitations?
- Do clubs need to appeal to a wider demographic?
- How can clubs increase spend per head?
- What can clubs do to change consumer perceptions of long queues and high prices?
The UK nightclubs market continues to struggle, as both club admissions and revenues fall victim to economic pressures and changes in consumer behaviour. Whilst the number of regular consumers has remained stable, occasional visitors are fewer in number as more over-25s leave clubbing behind.
However, the re-emergence of the market leader, Luminar, which has recently exited administration, shows that there may be a glimmer of light for clubs that are able to reinvent their proposition. Major operators are showing the confidence to invest heavily in refurbishment, whilst the likes of Novus Leisure have had success by focusing more on dining and bookable space.
Now the industry faces a dilemma as the number of students and 18-24-year-olds (its core target audience) looks set to contract, whilst many young people are still out of work in the wake of the economic downturn.
This report analyses consumers’ visiting frequency of nightclubs now, compared with 18 months ago, and looks at the activities that clubbers have experienced within venues. Clubbers’ attitudes towards nightclubs are also assessed, in addition to the factors that influence consumers’ choice of venue. The report also investigates what operators can do in order to attract the business of people who no longer go to clubs.
For the purpose of this report, Mintel defines nightclubs as establishments where the primary offer is that of dancing to music and where drink and food are offered as ancillary items. In addition, an admission fee is normally, but not always, levied.
Under the Licensing Act 2003, nightclubs in England and Wales must be in possession of an appropriate Premises Licence; allowing the sale by retail of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the provision of late night refreshment.
The dividing line between nightclubs and late night bars continues to be blurred, with no distinction between these different types of outlet by the licensing authorities or, indeed, the industry itself. All data within this report focus purely on nightclubs (ie excluding late night bars and pubs whose primary business is the retailing of liquor, rather than the provision of dancing).
Where hybrid concepts are included, ie bar/nightclubs, it is because these have a separate dedicated club section where an admission fee is normally levied for a substantial proportion of users. This report does not include nightclubs that are part of hotels or casinos nor does it cover lap-dancing clubs.
Where the term ‘core club’ has been used, this refers to a nightclub that focuses purely on drink and dance, rather than a club or hybrid bar which serves food or has a restaurant area.
Entertainment is ‘regulated entertainment’ when it takes place in the presence of a public audience or members and guests of a qualifying club, whether a charge is made or not. Entertainment which takes place in the presence of a private audience is only regulated entertainment when a charge is made with a view to making a profit.
The performance of live music and incidental playing of recorded music is not regarded as regulated entertainment under the 2003 Act, where they are incidental to another activity which is not itself regulated entertainment.
The spontaneous performance of music, singing or dancing does not amount to the provision of regulated entertainment and is not a licensable activity. There are also some exemptions for activities in certain premises, such as churches.
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