Spaniards return to bars despite inflation: consumption in hospitality grows by 26%

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A waitress serves food to customers on the terrace of a bar in central Ronda, southern Spain, September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Spain has always been a country of bars. However, the pandemic and, later, the inflation derived from the war in Ukraine, put in a get up to the hotel sector which, despite its multiple efforts to adapt to new situations, observed the significant transfer of customers to the delivery. This year, although the rise in prices continues, Spaniards return to their traditional beers with friends, coffees with family or snacking dinners in the bar of a lifetime, which has boosted consumption in the hotel industry by 26%.

Great news for a sector that suffered greatly, first with the confinement and later with the restrictions derived from the health crisis and that, during the past year, saw how the slow recovery of its sales did not compensate for the rise in costs derived from the conflict.

It may interest you: Hotel overnight stays increase by 10.8% but travelers reduce their days of stay due to the rise in prices

A rise in costs, which, despite their attempts not to transfer consumers for fear of damaging the gradual recovery in demand, had to have an impact. Specifically, according to the latest data published by the National Statistics Institute (INE) For the month of July, prices in bars, restaurants and cafes have increased by 15.5%, compared to the same month of 2019, the pre-pandemic reference year.

Despite this increase in cost, the hospitality sector has won the pulse of food at home: consumption in bars and restaurants has increased by 26%, twice as much as sales of 'delivery' in restaurants have increased, which have grown 13% this year, according to data from the association of manufacturers and distributors AECOC.

While before 2019 Only 15% of consumers went to the 'online' channel' to make your consumer purchases, at the end of 2022 the percentage was already 26.8%. Since the start of the pandemic, the data evolved with sustained growth until the first half of 2022, when the record stabilized at figures close to 27%, although its growth has slowed down throughout this year.

IESE professor, Jose Luis Nueno, has attributed this “online slowdown” to the fact that “consumers went to the digital channel looking for low prices, and now they have gone up”. “Companies have adopted a capture model, with which they have tried to attract consumers who were in stores to the 'online'. Now there are still 50% of customers who maintain their digital consumption, so they must bet on their retention with loyalty plans and strategies ”, she pointed out.

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