Home Industry News Releases Alcohol Sales Sees Strongest One Week Growth Since First Week of Pandemic...

Alcohol Sales Sees Strongest One Week Growth Since First Week of Pandemic Lockdown


nielsenNielsen Beverage Alcohol Practice reports that total alcohol sales the week ending 5/2/20 represented the strongest growth rate for alcohol since the peak pantry-loading week of 3/21/20. Total off premise alcohol dollar sales in Nielsen measured channels increased +32.0%.

  • Wine dollar sales are at +35.8% year over year (-0.1% vs. prior week). Spirits, yet again, led growth in Nielsen U.S. measured off-premise channels, at +38.6% (and +4.7% vs. the prior week), with beer/FMB/cider at +28.1% (+6.3% vs. prior week). Beer specifically is +18.6% (+5.7% vs. prior week).
  • That’s now 3 weeks since the beginning of March with weekly sales growth for wine above +30% (with 3 other weeks where growth was between +28% and +30%).
  • Evidence of the impact of warmer weather is reflected in the uptick of white wine growth. This week, white wine’s growth rate vs. a year ago was 5 percentage points higher than its growth we saw last week.
  • And while celebrations in the midst of the current environment are likely different in nature than pre-COVID, French Champagne had one of its best weeks for growth, up +22% vs year ago, compared to other recent weeks of no to low growth.    
  • Consistent with several prior weeks, wines (in glass bottles) in the $20-$25 range led others in growth, with $11-$15 and then $15-$20 price tiers just behind, in that order. 
  • Further evidence of rising retail pricing is found in our examination of the top 100 wine selling SKUs in Nielsen measured channels. Over 90% of those items were selling at a higher price in the 4 weeks ending 4/18/20 than they were a year ago at the same point in time, and about 75% were selling a higher price than the 4 weeks towards the end of February. 

For the latest nine-week timeframe when COVID-19 heavily impacted consumer behavior (from the week ending 3/7/20 through the week ending 5/2/20), wine is +30.1% in dollar sales.

Nielsen estimates that total alcohol needs to maintain at least 22% volume sales growth rates on average in off-premise channels in order to make up for the losses in the on premise. As the on premise begins to emerge from lockdown, that number will change.

  • For the COVID-19 period to date (from the week ending 3/7/20 through the week ending 5/2/20), wine is +27.5% in volume sales within the U.S. off-premise vs. one year prior.

In the words of Danny Brager, Senior Vice President of Beverage Alcohol at Nielsen:

“This week’s strong growth is likely partially due to some pre-Cinco de Mayo related consumer purchasing as an ‘extra’ boost to off-premise sales, whereas last year many of those celebrations were on-premise (within bars, restaurants, etc.). That said, perhaps warmer weather in many parts of the country, coupled with some ‘indoor fatigue and monotony,’ also contributed – driving more people outdoors, and leading to more drinking occasions (and related higher sales activity). Everyone is finding their own unique ways to ‘celebrate’.”

Overview: Nielsen COVID-19 insights and analysis

Nielsen CGA: COVID-19: Measuring the On Premise Impact



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.