Capturing the aperitivo occasion in the Italian and French On-Premise


Capturing the aperitivo occasion in the Italian and French On-Premise

Aperitivo is a key drinking occasion across both the French and the Italian OnPremise alcohol sector. CGA Managing Director -EMEA Graeme Loudon gives an overview of the aperitivo moment and highlights similarities and differences between the two markets to help suppliers adapt their strategies and maximize their sales during this growing occasion. 

An “aperitivo” is the occasion of enjoying a beverage before a meal to stimulate appetite.

Aperitivo hotspots

According to CGA’s On-Premise User Study (OPUS), which features data collected between September and October 2022, the aperitivo is a paramount drinking occasion for both Italian and French On-Premise consumers. Chosen by one in four drinkers, the aperitivo ranks as the fourth most important occasion in France. In Italy, arguably the home of Aperitivo, the occasion ranks even higher – second just behind high-tempo drinks – and a remarkable 50% of the country’s On-Premise alcohol consumers visit the On-Premise for Aperitivo every quarter. 

The Aperitivo consumer 

The consumer who visits the trade for Aperitivo are a rather loyal consumer group: two thirds and three out of four users in France and Italy respectively enjoy the occasion at least once a month, up to once or twice a week. In Italy, the aperitivo continues to be a growing trend: over one third of drinkers go out for Aperitivo more frequently than a year ago. These drinkers tend to concentrate in the country’s urban areas and benefit from a relatively higher-than-average income and monthly spending in the On-Premise. When compared to the average On-Premise consumer, the aperitivo demographic tends to be female, within the 35-54 age bracket. 

Remaining in Italy, Aperitivo consumers pay more attention to a drink’s price when compared to the average drinker. But they also trust bar staff with their recommendations and allow friends to influence their choice. The quality and availability of brands at the bar, as well as written recommendations on menus and drinks lists, play a relatively smaller — yet not negligible — role. 

Beyond the pre-dinner occasion

Aperitivo is enjoyed in a variety of On-Premise channels, meaning that tapping into this opportunity can offer plenty of profitable opportunities to suppliers and venues alike. Both formal and informal dining venues, as well as bars and late-night bars, are all associated with the aperitivo moment.  

More than food-led (casual dining/ restaurants) and night-time premises however, cafes are the aperitivo’s ideal partner venues. Cafes are chosen by almost 50% of French aperitivo consumers and four in five drinkers in Italy.

Aperitif, cocktails, wine and beer

When looking to target the aperitivo occasion, suppliers should seek insights into people’s favorite drink categories. Aperitifs such as vermouth, liqueurs, and bitters define the aperitivo occasion across both markets, chosen by 33% and 47% of French and Italian consumers respectively. In addition, cocktails represent a further key category for the aperitivo moment, interacted with by about a third of French and Italian drinkers. Wine should not be overlooked either — particularly in Italy, where sparkling expressions (24%) are widely understood as ideal pre-dinner drinks. 

In France, nearly one in five consumers interact with the craft and domestic beer categories during the aperitivo moment, while a more modest 16% interact with imported brands, making the wider beer category another beverage that suppliers should be considering when targeting the aperitivo moment.

A tall glass of an alcoholic beverage.

Learn more about CGA x NIQ OPUS

These insights, drawn from CGA’s latest consumer surveys, can help suppliers fully capture the aperitivo moment in Italy and France by highlighting relevant and up-to-date consumer trends and suggesting how to best adapt sales strategies to the ever-changing On-Premise alcohol market. 

The On-Premise opportunity

While aperitifs and cocktails are a key part of the sales mix during Aperitivo, there are opportunities for other categories to win share, and suppliers should also explore consumer insights beyond category preferences to really pinpoint what attracts drinkers to the aperitivo moment in the first place. Understanding the need states of consumers, how to influence drink choice and encourage trial, and how to appeal to consumers on this occasion should be key for suppliers and operators alike.  

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