Women take more time at the bar – study

Published: 1 December 2015 at 14:44

Research by Anglia Ruskin examines behaviour when ordering drinks in a pub.

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Women spend 30% longer at the bar than men when ordering drinks, according to a study carried out by Anglia Ruskin University’s pubLAB™.

The study, which is being presented at the Alcohol Innovation Congress 2015 in London tomorrow [Wednesday, 2 December], investigated consumer behaviour in a Cambridge pub.

The researchers found that the average time at the bar, which is the time from first contact with the bartender to leaving with a drink, was 2 minutes 23 seconds.

For lone male drinkers time at the bar was 2 minutes 6 seconds, increasing by almost a third to 2 minutes 44 seconds for female customers ordering on their own. 

The time spent at the bar increases with age, with older customers taking longer to complete their order compared to younger customers, and those ordering food taking 39% longer to complete their purchase.  

Academics at pubLAB™ also used eye tracking glasses to measure which features of the bar area attracted the attention of customers.

Female drinkers are more likely to look at the back of the bar area and the bartender, while the gaze of male drinkers is less focused.  As well as the back of the bar and bartender, they also looked at the pump clips, the bar top, the digital advertising screen and other drinkers.  

Tim Froggett, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“Lone male drinkers seem to spend more time surveying the scene. Their visual attention is more dispersed and they seem to be taking in all aspects of the bar environment.”

“Lone females on the other hand are more task oriented, devoting most of their attention to what is relevant to their ‘visual search task’.”

“The reason they are slower probably relates to the greater complexity of their task. Customers will look for relevant information but women are less likely than men to order a pint of beer, which is the most clearly advertised drink at the bar.”

“Bottled ciders and soft drinks, for example, present a much more difficult search task and therefore take longer to order. There are some important lessons here for brands whose presence at the bar isn’t immediately visually salient.”

Anglia Ruskin’s pubLAB™ specialises in studying point of purchase (POP) advertising, and works with breweries and advertising companies to understand the “shelf liveliness” of their product and better understand the customer journey within a pub.