Home Industry News Releases Early Easter Keeps Off-Premise Wine Sales Accelerating

Early Easter Keeps Off-Premise Wine Sales Accelerating


nielsenNielsen Beverage Alcohol Practice reports total alcohol sales are up 26.2% in Nielsen off-premise channels for the week ending April 11, 2020 compared to the same week last year and up +2.5% from the previous week.

  • Wine leads with the strongest growth rate, up 36.5% (+5.2% from the previous week), followed by spirits at +32.4% (though down 1% from the previous week) and beer/FMB/cider at +19.4% (and +2.7% from the previous week). Beer specifically is +11.6% (and +2.3% from the previous week).
  • The $20-$25 price wine tier continues to perform ahead of all other wine price tiers, in every weekly period since the beginning of March.
  • Across over 6,000 wine suppliers tracked in Nielsen measured off-premise channels, sales of the top 100 suppliers in aggregate (accounting for around 90% of dollars tracked by Nielsen) grew +31%, while “All Others” in aggregate grew +30%.
  • For the latest six-week timeframe when COVID-19 heavily impacted consumer behavior (from the week ending 3/7/20 through the week ending 4/11/20), wine is +32% in dollar sales in aggregate (from our in-store retail measurement).

“The alignment of the Easter holiday this year (which would include purchases for the week ending 4/11/20) would most likely be favorably impacting growth trends for this week, as Easter fell later in 2019 – in particular to the benefit of wine, despite the less than celebratory broader atmosphere,” says Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Beverage Alcohol at Nielsen. “Perhaps some consumers who might have routinely spent much more than $25 on a bottle of wine while in a restaurant are very willing to spend $20 to $25 on a similar bottle of wine for consumption at home.”

Overall e-commerce alcohol sales continue to accelerate. Compared to the same week in 2019, growth for the week ending 4/11/20 was +387% (though less than +441% for the week ending 4/4/20). (Source: Nielsen U.S.; Nielsen E-commerce measurement powered by Rakuten Intelligence).

Nielsen COVID-19 general site: www.nielsen.com/covid-19

On Premise Restaurants (via Nielsen CGA)

While the impact of COVID-19 continues to alter our day to day lives and has severely impaired the hospitality sector, Nielsen CGA RestaurantTrak data (approximately 10,000 transaction level point-of-sale feeds from a demographically balanced set of largely independently owned units) shows that velocity declines week to week appear to have stabilized among units that continue to operate–indicating some adaptation to current market conditions, though obviously significantly down (over -70%) vs pre-COVID norms.

Velocity grew +11% in the week ending April 11 vs the previous week, following a +7% velocity increase for the week ending April 4 vs prior week, with the boost in velocity being driven largely by an increase in the average number of checks, while the average value of each check has remained stable over the past 4 weeks.

Nielsen CGA consumer research revealed that while 62% of consumers said they’ve ordered food takeout/delivery in the past 2 weeks (consistent with 66% from the previous 2 weeks), only 9% said they have ordered takeout/delivery including alcohol, indicating significant upside opportunity for on premise operators to creatively market “alcohol to go” where allowable. That number climbs to 17% among those 21-34. Other findings include:

Larger serving options are still preferred, including multi-packs of beer and 750 ml wine and spirit bottles, but there is a significant percentage indicating a preference for 200 ml bottles and RTD cans of spirits, along with the 375 ml bottle size of wine

A significant majority – approximately 75% – indicated that they expect to pay more for a delivered Alcoholic package or drink than they would in a retail store. Yet at the same time, more than 60% of those surveyed said that they are more price conscious when ordering Alcohol than in pre-COVID times

Among consumers who have ordered alcohol with takeout/delivery or would consider doing so, about half would consider ordering a cocktail kit or a pre-made cocktail

The most current and complete On Premise Impact Report by Nielsen CGA, along with other special reports issued over the past few weeks can be found via this link: On-Premise BevAl COVID-19: http://nielsencga.com/covid-19/

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