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Wine Still Strong Off-Premise and Online - Nielsen

by Cyril Penn
April 22, 2020

 

Wine sales in Nielsen-measured off-premise channels grew by 36.5 percent for the week ending April 11, 2020 compared to the same period in the prior year, and wine sales increased by 5.2 percent compared to the prior week, an increase which was attributed to a shift in Easter timing.

“Wine is really strong,” Nielsen Senior Vice-President, Beverage Alcohol Practices, Danny Brager told Wine Business Monthy. “Consumers aren’t going to be pantry loading forever. At some point, it’s going to come down but it hasn’t.”

The $20 to $25 price segment continued to out-perform other wine price tiers, as it has in Nielsen-tracked channels since the beginning of March.  Brager said some consumers who might have routinely spent much more for a bottle of wine while in a restaurant, are very willing to spend $20 to $25 on a similar bottle for home consumption.

Sales of alcoholic beverages via e-commerce retail sales continued to sky-rocket, having seen strong triple digit increases since the middle of March. That trend continued in the latest data, with alcoholic beverage sales up 387 percent for the week ending April 11, 2020.

Given the collapse of restaurant sales, off-premise sales of alcoholic beverages need to increase 22 percent to just get back to flat total industry levels. However, the effects of shelter in place orders on individual companies that are part of the alcohol industry are obviously not equal.   

Some of the smaller, independent craft beer companies aren’t doing well. Nielsen took a look at the total number of items selling across the alcoholic beverage category to understand if and where some segments were gaining or losing items. For the total COVID-19 weeks in aggregate (6 weeks ending April 11, 2020), not much changed for wine and spirits in the number of items selling compared to pre-COVID time periods. However, the story for beer was different. The total number of beer/FMB/cider items selling declined by 8.3 percent compared to those same 6 weeks last year.

Spirits sales in Nielsen-measured off-premise channels grew 32.4 percent for the week.

A key question continues to be whether people are drinking more in total. “I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that yet,” Brager said. “Wine is doing okay. Wine was having its growth issues and challenges with lots of headwinds (before the COVID-19 crisis), Brager said. “Wine is doing okay given the challenges we had coming into this.”

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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