Bacardi identifies three key social groups as on-trade reopens

Bacardi has identified three key consumer groups after conducting an extensive survey on attitudes towards revisiting bars as lockdown measures are eased.

The company’ strategic insights department teamed up with a UK organisation called Design My Night to quiz its 500,000 members on their readiness to return to social circles. It then crunched the numbers and worked with behavioural scientists to define these groups.

Bacardi now divides consumers into three different categories: “The New Pragmatics”, “Slay at Homes” and “Mix-a-Lots”.

Around half of the consumers that completed the survey fall into “The New Pragmatics”. “They are looking for new ideas, but they’re not ready to take on the world,” says Brenda Fiala, Bacardi’s global vice president of strategic insights and analytics. “You want to go out. You’re starting to gather with people, but you’re still very much aware of safety, following the rules.”

She essentially defines them as sitting on the fence. The “Slay at Homes” are not yet ready to go out, whereas the “Mix-a-Lots” are donning their stilettos, heading out to bars and searching for “amazing cocktails”.

Regarding the “Slay at Homes”, Fiala says: “They are not yet ready to go out with everyone else. People have stayed at home and nested and they enjoy it. They have learned to make their own cocktails.

“They have spent tons of money on their back gardens and making their homes comfortable, and they have their quaran-team, who they’re connecting with. It’s much more about inviting those closest to you to your home, or going to their home, because you feel safe, you feel secure, and you’re enjoying ordering in.

“To support those people, we have partnered with Deliveroo, and we have promoted, with local bars and restaurants, cocktails to go. You can get your Grey Goose cocktail in a can, having been made for you by a bartender, and delivered to your house.”

Yet it is also working hard to encourage people to return to bars. It is offering consumers prepaid cocktail vouchers for bars, and it has also created digital menus and QR codes to help guests order via apps. It also allows its staff to work in bars in order to generate extra footfall, while investing in training bartenders and launching initiatives like Raise the Bar, Back to the Bar and Raise Your Spirits.

The survey was focused on the UK, but Fiala believes it will resonate in other markets. “It’s a UK focused initiative, but I think we can take it many places,” she says. “What’s happening in London might take flight in LA or Miami or another city. There is truly a trend of people who feel comfortable to go out, and people who feel uncomfortable. We’ve been tracking the numbers.”

Fiala’s team measures “the proportion of comfortables versus uncomfortables” in different markets around the world. At one end of the spectrum is Florida. “Everybody’s out in Florida,” says Fiala. Bacardi umbrellas popped early there, and we’re having a great season there, as the country flocks to Florida. People have even moved to Florida.”

Other markets, such as India, are still in lockdown and struggling, so it is harder to predict the short-term future trends. “But the desire for human connections is always there,” says Fiala. “The desire to be entertained and served by people that know their craft in bars is always there.”

In terms of the drinks people will consume, “Slay at Homes” want longer, lighter drinks in their back gardens. “Grey Goose Spritzes are popular. Bombay has been having a renaissance.”

Fiala also points to the surging popularity of RTDSs, but says “Mix-a-Lots” heading into bars want innovation, with tequila a key category. “Patron is taking off. The Paloma is becoming a more popular drink and so are Margaritas.”

She believes more consumers will move into the “Mix-a-Lots” and “The New Pragmatics” categories in the months ahead. “There is a latent desire to have that serendipity, to bump into a stranger. You don’t think you want to do it, but once it happens, you’ll be over that in an instant, in the right environment.”