The concept of “tardeo” has become fashionable in Spain. This refers to when consumers visit bars and restaurants to socialise in the afternoon or early evening instead of later at night.
The trend gained heightened prominence as a result of the pandemic. However, the concept has been present for many years. Before 2020, the concept of tardeo typically appealed to marginally older consumers – particularly those in the 35+ age group and those with families – in addition to tourists. However, the legacy of the pandemic has expanded this trend to include younger consumers.
What has motivated the development of tardeo?
A key driver is the current importance given to health and wellness in the minds of Spanish consumers. This is reflected in more moderate drinking habits and mindful attitudes to alcohol, in addition to the increasing popularity of non or low alcoholic drinks, with less desire to be out all night. It is these trends that characterise tardeo and thus help to explain its current popularity.
Tardeo is driven by an evolution in how consumers carry out leisure activities following the pandemic
Night-time venues were shut during the pandemic. This meant that consumers wanting to socialise had no option but to visit bars and restaurants at earlier times of the day than they traditionally might have done; after restrictions were lifted, these consumers found going out earlier to be a convenient and preferrable option for socialising. Furthermore, consumers could then go to bed at a reasonable hour and be up ready and recovered the following day.
Spanish consumers are returning to bars and restaurants following the pandemic, but at earlier times of the day than before. Some horeca outlets are now opening earlier to align with tardeo, in many cases extending the amount of time they are trading during the day. Transaction numbers rose in 2022 compared to the previous two years, while on-trade volume sales of alcoholic drinks recovered close to pre-pandemic levels. Thus, the trend poses more of a challenge to late-night consumption occasions, rather than challenging at-home consumption, which also developed strongly as a result of the pandemic.
Which drinks benefit from tardeo?
Non and low alcoholic drinks will benefit from tardeo, in a market which is already the second largest for non/low alcohol beer in Western Europe. Many consumers seek non or low alcoholic beverages when socialising during the day or at lunch as they are perceived as “healthier”, whilst many may choose to drive to the bar or restaurant.
Gin and tonic is arguably the most popular drink associated with tardeo. However, gin-based drinks are being increasingly challenged by rum. Indeed, rum brands have developed premium and flavoured offers to meet the growing demand for the product, as evident with the launch of Legendario Ronsse Punch au Rhum in 2021, a strawberry-flavoured rum without added sugar.
“La hora de vermut” (“vermouth time” – referring to a pre-lunch aperitif, which frequently is vermouth) came to prominence during the pandemic.
Vermouth is one of the major winners in the growth of tardeo, developing its perception as a trendy drink in Spain
Drinks associated with nostalgia also saw an increase in popularity during this time, whilst younger adults of legal drinking age gained greater exposure to the drink. However, the revival of vermouth was not simply driven by the pandemic. Prior to 2020, both volume and value sales for vermouth grew faster than drinks such as gin, rum and sherry. The growing popularity has in turn driven innovation, with both large and small brands introducing new offers, such as Mahou’s Bendito, a red vermouth launched in 2022.
How does tardeo impact foodservice players?
Consumers give increasing importance to their personal experience when at a bar or restaurant. The challenging economic situation adds to this, with consumers potentially reducing the frequency of their visits to horeca outlets and wanting to make any trip exciting and memorable.
Many horeca outlets have had to react to meet this trend. Rooftop locations or the merging of a venue with a leisure activity are some examples of ways to achieve this. Restaurants could be decorated with striking designs to attract consumers, who may then be persuaded to share photographs of the location on social media platforms such as Instagram – serving as a form of advertising.
Consumers spend more time (and money) in a single establishment as a result of tardeo
Some restaurants have responded by positioning themselves as places where you can come for a meal but then stay for drinks, with some operators also providing entertainment for guests.
What is the future for tardeo?
In Spain, going out for drinks is intricately linked to socialising with friends – rather than simply to drink alcohol. Several features of tardeo – such as the possible greater amount of time spent in an establishment – suit this.
Going forward, habits developed during the pandemic will endure, and the desire of consumers to live healthier lives will also continue. Given this, tardeo appears to be here to stay. The consumption of aperitifs and liqueurs (for instance at after-dinner occasions) can be said to be manifestations of tardeo, and these will continue to be popular in the future.
However, this will be rivalled by other, more traditional consumption times as these dayparts continue their recovery following COVID-19. For instance, supported by the return of international tourists, late-night consumption occasions recovered somewhat in 2022, aiding spirits such as tequila and vodka.
Overall, bars and restaurants will have to cater for a diversifying range of drinking occasions in future and the different types of drinks options these include.
Learn more about alcoholic drinks in Spain by accessing Euromonitor International’s full reports and statistics here, or download our new white paper Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2023 for in-depth trend descriptions, case studies and strategic recommendations.