A number of figures have flown around regarding the effects of the pandemic on nightlife in the UK, and now a new report suggests that nightclubs could have shrunk by nearly a third between March 2020 and December 2022.
The report, from the Hospitality Market Monitor by AlixPartners & CGA, explored the hospitality sector and reported that some 13,037 sites have been lost (equivalent to 13 closures every day) within the near three-year period.
Nightclubs “bore the brunt” of this challenging period, in which the pandemic, increases in energy prices and, more recently, strike action all played a part in the downturn. As a result, “this segment [is] now nearly a third smaller than it was before the pandemic,” it outlines.
According to the study, the number of nightclubs in the UK declined from 1,035 venues to 882 between December 2021 and December 2022 – a difference of 153 venues, which equates to a 14.8% drop.
The report has been picked up by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), whose CEO Michael Kill has urged the government for more support as a result.
“We have consistently hammered home our concerns to the Government that Independent businesses across the Night Time Economy & Hospitality Sectors are at the greatest risk under the current crisis,” Kill said in a statement.
“With one new opening, for every three closures in the last three years, solely down to pandemic, cost inflation and the current industrial action challenges… The acceptance by the Government that businesses will be lost through this crisis takes no account of the people reliant on this sector.”
“The sector is suffering heavily, and needs the financial headroom to recover. The rhetoric of long term growth and investment strategy is not addressing the immediate issues faced by the businesses.”
Kill further added that the government “must consider” further financial assistance, a readdressing of the energy relief scheme and a reduction in VAT for 12 months when the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers the government’s budget on 15 March.
The latest figures seem to show an even bleaker picture for the amount of nightclub closures compared to a study from the NTIA six months ago, which suggested that such venues had been reduced by a fifth since before the pandemic.
Another study from two hospitality-focused software companies, Stampede and StoreKit used data obtained from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) was released almost a year ago to the day. It showed the long-term decline in the sector, with the number of nightclubs having almost halved between 2010 and 2021, although it’s unclear how both that study and the newest report determine nightclubs and count them.