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Value and experience the keys to festival drinks sales this summer


Consumers are ready to spend on drinks and food at British festivals this summer—but only if suppliers and organisers can give them top value and unique experiences.


Those are some of the many insights from CGA by NIQ’s exclusive new Festivals Report, which is available now. The expert report, based on an in-depth survey of more than 6,000 frequent festival-goers and 18 festival operators, gives a powerful combination of perspectives from both consumers and operators. 

 

Consumers are most attracted to festivals by their programmes, with 55% and 44% of them encouraged to buy tickets by a high-quality line-up or great headliner respectively. However, value will be a powerful driver this year—especially in light of the cost of living crisis. Nearly half (45%) of festival-goers say they would be encouraged to buy tickets if they were cheaper, and a third (34%) would be motivated by better value of food and drink. 

 

Festival fans can also be lured by new experiences and promotions. Around half say they want to see unique experiences (52%) and free trials and samples of food and drink (50%) at future festivals, and more than a quarter would like fresh aspects like discovery stages (30%) and unique cultural experiences (27%). 

 

Other important factors include atmosphere and socialising. Three quarters (76%) choose to visit festivals because of the atmosphere—the second most important driver behind music—and more than two thirds (68%) do so because they can socialise with friends and family.  

 

The Festivals Report’s consumer insights are complemented by operators’ perspectives on the festival scene in 2024. They include the importance of sustainability, accessibility, social media and streaming, concerns about rising operational and performer costs and the impact of high inflation on consumers’ spending. 

 

With good value and high-quality experiences, suppliers can capitalise on what is likely to be the biggest summer of festivals for many years. Over a quarter (29%) of festival-goers say they will visit more events than they did last year, while only 5% will visit fewer. Operators predict they will sell 82% of their total tickets in 2024—significantly higher than the figure of 72% in 2023. 


Violetta Njunina, CGA by NIQ’s client director, GB Drinks, said: “This could well be a bumper year for drinks suppliers at British festivals—especially if the sun shines. However, after several years of rising costs, many consumers are watching their spending carefully and will be demanding top value for their tickets. By understanding the priorities of both festival fans and operators, and striking the right balance of value and quality, suppliers have some great opportunities to make their brands stand out in a crowded market and generate widespread trial and trade-up. Our Festivals Report is the ideal foundation for successful strategies.” 



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