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Tequila and RTDs boost US off-trade spirits sales

Off-trade spirits sales in the US grew 33% in the week to 4 April 2020 led by ready-to-drink (RTD) products and Tequila, according to Nielsen data.

Large bottle formats performed well across off-trade outlets in the US

The latest figures from Nielsen showed that off-trade total alcohol sales in the US for the week ending 4 April grew 25%, compared to the same period in 2019.

For the week ending 4 April, spirits sales were up 33%, wine rose by 32% and beer, flavoured malt beverage (FMB) and cider grew 10%. Spirits sales were up 6%, compared to the previous week ending 28 March.

Cans mainly drove the growth of the pre-mixed cocktail category, Nielsen noted.

The 1.75-litre size continued to “significantly outgrow” the 750ml format, while bottle sizes below 750ml grew at low double-digit rates.

Since the start of March, Nielsen said higher-end premium and ultra-premium spirit segments have continued to grow at rates well beyond mid-priced and value segments, although all segments reported double-digit growth.

For the four weeks ending 28 March, compared to the same four-week period in 2019, there were 25% more households purchasing spirits, and dollar spend of spirits per buyer was up 18%.

When it came to e-commerce sales, alcohol continued to skyrocket with an increase of 246% for the week ending 21 March, a 291% surge for the week ending 28 March, and a 441% rise for the week ending 4 April.

Nielsen said alcohol “remained the fastest-growing department in percentage terms, albeit on a lower base than most others”. By comparison, e-commerce sales across all departments grew 41% in the most recent week.

Danny Brager, senior vice president of beverage alcohol at Nielsen, said: “The general premiumisation trend that we’ve seen for a few years now has continued to this point. For the week ending April 4 2020, average retail selling prices exceeded the comparable year ago levels – +1% for spirits, +2% for wine and +3% for beer/FMB/cider. This is something we’ll continue to watch in tandem with the economic fall-outs of covid-19.”

Off-trade spirits sales in the US rose 26.4% in the week ending 14 March as consumers stocked up amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Nielsen.

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