According to data analysed by hospitality-focused software companies Stampede and StoreKit, the UK could soon be left with just 5,000 nightclubs.
The figures point to a continuation of a now decade-long trend of club closures, and — worryingly — do not take into consideration the as-yet-unknown fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.
Using numbers gleaned from the Office of National Statistics, the survey shows that in 2010 there were 10,040 registered nightclubs in the UK. By 2015, this had fallen to 8,370. Two years later, the figure stood at 7,420, dropping to 6,985 by 2021. Even a minor increase in 2019 does little to paint the situation in a more positive light. If this pattern continues, there could soon be no more than 5,000 remaining.
Pubs and bars have also seen a fall in overall numbers, suggesting the nightlife sector in general is in decline. Crucially, the industry is thought to be among the worst-impacted by the coronavirus healthcare crisis, with food-focused establishments weathering the storm better.
"It’s clear that drinks-focused businesses such as pubs, bars and clubs have all suffered more from the Covid restrictions than restaurants", a blog post by Stampede read. Meanwhile, StoreKit CEO, Christophe Delacroix, said: "With continued uncertainty, home-working and low footfall there's no denying that the industry is facing an extremely tough few months.”
During the years the statistics cover, a number of key electronic music venues have been among those to bow out. These include The Arches and Art School in Glasgow, Manchester's Sankey's Soap (latterly Sankeys), Mint Club in Leeds, and Plastic People in London. Last week, The Drumsheds announced it would permanently close in February.