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Thu 3rd Nov 2016 - Cash-free foodservice outlets to become more common, beer sales down in third quarter despite positive trend
Cash-free foodservice outlets to become more common in 2017 as consumers embrace new payment methods: Cash-free foodservice outlets will become more common next year as consumers embrace new payment methods such as contactless cards, smartphones and wearables in record numbers, according to new research. Highlighting key consumer trends set to have an impact in Europe in 2017, Mintel said the practicalities of streamlined paying would open up the possibility for brands to focus on creating a more unique eating or shopping experience for their customers. Meanwhile, 27% of UK consumers said they would find it useful if they could contact brands via messaging apps such as WhatsApp. Mintel manager of trends Catherine Cottney said: “Growing consumer confidence in technology born of familiarity, along with technological advances and product launches, will increase adoption of new payment methods. Already, 30% of UK consumers feel comfortable about the potential for a completely cashless society, while 29% said it is more convenient to pay for things using a smartphone than other payment methods. In 2017, we will see mobile payment schemes gain greater traction. We will also see existing wearables expand to incorporate payment capabilities. Businesses that create their own payment schemes will theoretically be able to pass on debit and credit card transaction fee savings in the form of loyalty-boosting discounts to their customers. Meanwhile, cash-free foodservice outlets that have been kitted-out with pre-ordering facilities and self-service kiosks, will become more common. In 2017, we will see social media platforms become an essential part of everyday life for users. Beyond being used for their original purpose – to connect users to their friends and family – they will develop to allow users to complete a wide range of activities without having to log-off or navigate away from the site. For consumers, this will be convenience nirvana, as they will have unprecedented access to official brand channels. For brands, it will give them an opportunity to nurture closer, more private customer relationships and dialogues through social media but it may also pose some major new challenges as they seek to ensure they can realistically offer constant and reliable communication.”

Beer sales down in third quarter despite positive trend: Beer sales were down 3.4% in the third quarter of 2016 but the trend is still broadly positive, according to the latest “Beer Barometer” quarterly sales tracker from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). The group said that while sales were down from July to September when compared with 2015, last year’s figure had been given a boost by the Rugby World Cup. Quarterly beer sales hit a low in the second quarter of 2013 but have since stabilised after years of decline, and have not dropped below this level since. The change in trend is down to a big change in tax policy, with three beer duty cuts and a freeze in the past four Budgets helping to keep the price of beer affordable for consumers. Beer duty is now 17% lower than it would have been under the previous “beer duty escalator” policy. This has stimulated growth and investment in a beer market that is 90% supplied by UK producers, and has encouraged investment in industry-wide campaigns and initiatives, such as “There’s a Beer for That”. BPBA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “While the overall trend is moving in the right direction, with the challenges of Brexit, it is vital we continue to enjoy supportive tax policies that boost consumer confidence in beer and pubs. We do need to see further beer tax cuts so we can compete with our European neighbours when we leave the EU, as many of these countries benefit from substantially lower tax rates on beer.” David Cunningham, programme director of There’s A Beer For That – Britain’s Beer Alliance, added: “Despite category volume growth remaining fragile, value growth continues to improve year-on-year. We continue to track positive changes in consumer attitude and behaviour towards beer. Beer penetration, usage and consideration have improved year-on-year and people are increasingly choosing to drink a beer with their meal in pubs, bars, restaurants and at home. However, there is still plenty of work to be done collectively to demonstrate beer’s quality, diversity and versatility.”

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