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11 million Australians visit pubs – mostly for a good feed

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2019 – March 2020, n=13,208. Base: Australians 14+. Note: Respondents were able to visit pubs/hotels for both reasons.

New Roy Morgan data shows that pre-COVID-19, 11 million Australians aged 14+ (52%) were visiting pubs (hotels) for meals or for a drink in an average three months, up from 10 million four years ago. 

Contrary to the image many might have of Australia’s pubs, most visitors to these establishments (9.5 million) go primarily for food. There are also 5.2 million people who like to drop in at the local for the sole purpose of having a drink. Of course many Australians, around 3.8 million, enjoy visiting pubs for both of these activities at different times.

On a State-based level it is South Australians (62%) and Tasmanians (59%) who are proportionally most likely to visit pubs, followed by people in Victoria (54%), New South Wales (52%), Western Australia (50%), Queensland (48%), with the least likely being those in the ACT – only 37%.

More Australians in Gen X (aged 44-59) visit pubs than any other generation 

People in Gen X, born from 1961-1975, are the leading age group for Australia’s pubs, with nearly 2.76 million (57%) visiting them. Other generations aren’t far behind, with 2.68 million Millennials (54%), 2.4 million Baby Boomers (52%) and 2.4 million in Gen Z (52%) visiting pubs.

Across all generations most people visit pubs for a meal (50% of Gen X, 47% of Baby Boomers, 46% of Millennials, 43% of Gen Z and 37% of Pre-Boomers).

Those most likely to go to a pub for the sole purpose of having a drink are the younger generations. Over 30% of Millennials and Generation Z visit pubs for the sole purpose of having a drink.

These findings are from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey in the year to March 2020, derived from in-depth interviews with over 1,000 Australians each week and around 50,000 Australians per year.

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says:

“Most of Australia is opening back up as restrictions ease and venues, including pubs and hotels, are able to welcome back an increasing number of patrons. Unfortunately the wait for a greater lifting of restrictions has been delayed indefinitely for Victorians with a renewed outbreak of COVID-19.

“The option to return to pubs in greater numbers will be widely welcomed with 11 million Australians (8 million outside Victoria) visiting pubs in an average three months during normal times, whether for a meal or a drink. Most likely to be enjoying the easing of restrictions and heading to their local are people in South Australia (62% visit pubs) and Tasmania (59%), while those in the ACT are the least likely at just over a third (37%).

“The pub is also a popular place to visit for Australians of a variety of ages. Over half of Generation X (57%), Millennials (54%), Baby Boomers (52%) and Generation Z (52%) visit pubs. This trend only declines for older Australians in the Pre-Boomer category when visitation drops to 40%.

“The renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria, and the imposition of a renewed six week lockdown for the Melbourne metropolitan area, shows this virus still poses a serious threat in Australia and bad luck, or bad management, could see outbreaks elsewhere around the country. But where the pandemic remains under control, many Australians will be enjoying the chance to have a parma or a schnitzel at their local.”

Australian visitation to pubs for meals and only drinks by generation


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2019 – March 2020, n=13,208. Base: Australians 14+. Note: Respondents were able to visit pubs/hotels for both reasons.

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