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Nielsen: spirits lead off-trade sales in US

Spirits continued to lead off-trade alcohol sales in the US in the week ending 18 April 2020, with ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, Tequila and gin proving to be the most popular purchases, Nielsen data showed.

Spirits led alcohol sales in the US off-trade in the week ending 18 April 2020

Off-trade spirits sales were up 27.4% in the week ending 18 April 2020 compared to the same seven-day period last year. This also represented a 3.2% increase on the previous week.

Total off-trade alcohol sales were up 15.9%, representing a 0.6% decrease on the week prior.

In the same week to 18 April 2020, spirits outperformed wine (up 14.1%) and beer and cider (up 12.3%).

Nielsen said the off-trade growth was due to an increase in the number of buyers making alcohol purchases – up 27% for the week ending 11 April 2020 compared to the same time frame in 2019.

The analyst also carried out a survey from 27 March to 17 April to gauge how and why consumers were purchasing alcohol in off-trade stores.

Nielsen surveyed more than 10,000 drinkers. Of these, 17% said they had stocked up more on alcoholic beverages in the past month compared to their normal buying habits. Meanwhile, 41% said they did not stock up on alcohol at all.

However, purchase behaviour suggests that dollar spend for that group rose by 25% for the four weeks ending 4 April 2020 compared to last year.

The majority of consumers (69%) said they were buying brands they know and trust.

Danny Brager, senior vice president of beverage alcohol at Nielsen, said: “Despite deep economic impacts, we continue to see premiumisation in the off-premise across all three categories (ie the average price per equivalised volume is still ahead of where it was last year).

“Perhaps we’ll see that slow or reverse in the months ahead, but we also recognise that consumers are transferring money they might have spent on alcohol in a restaurant, bar or tasting room to something they are buying at lower mark-ups from stores or online, or from those on-premise establishments that are offering alcohol to go at much reduced prices than ‘normal’.”

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