PRESS RELEASE: One in five consumers now take part in ‘Dry January’, new research from CGA Strategy reveals—but pubs and bars have used food offers and soft drinks to tempt them in regardless.

CGA’s consumer-side research shows the scale that January detox has reached in 2017, especially among young adults. Well over a quarter (28%) of consumers said they planned to go dry in January, against a country-wide average of one in five (20%). It had much less appeal for those aged over 55 (14%), and females (23%) were more likely to take part than males (18%). Those committing to ‘Dry January’ usually do so for health reasons, and more than a quarter (28%) raised money for charity while they took part.

Data from CGA Strategy’s exclusive Trading Index meanwhile shows that bars and food-led pubs increased their average weekly food sales in January 2017 by 2.6% and 2.0% respectively on 2016. It suggests that some people switched away from drink-led pubs in Dry January to ones that emphasise their food offer. Special promotions and an emphasis on healthier options have both helped to maintain trade during a month that sees many people resolve to eat better as well as cut out alcohol.

Drinks sales have also held up well, with drink-led pubs increasing their average weekly drink sales by 1.9% on January 2016. There is also some evidence that more people are enjoying soft drinks in pubs and bars as a result of giving up alcohol for the month. The share of all drinks sales taken by soft drinks was slightly higher in January than averages during the rest of the year—though uplifts might be even higher if pubs and bars could make their non-alcoholic drinks offer more appealing.

CGA’s data also shows a significant upswing in sales in the last week of January, when people’s pay cheques arrive and Dry January becomes more likely to be broken. It suggests that while people start out with good intentions, alcohol sales can return to normal levels well before the end of the month.

There will be more evidence of how managed pubs and restaurants fared in January in the latest edition of the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, out later this week.  According to CGA's chief executive Phil Tate, "our research shows that Dry January has become a full-blown occasion. That presents pubs and bars with a challenge if they are to retain footfall—but it’s one they are rising to. Good food and soft drinks give people reasons to keep coming in through the doors, and operators that can maximise those opportunities are more likely to shrug off any negative impacts of Dry January."

For more information about the research and CGA Strategy’s suite of services for the licensed trade, please contact