Robust off-premise growth continued in Nielsen channels in the week through May 2, with total beverage alcohol dollar sales up 32% compared to a year earlier. The drinks industry also has seen pricing advance at the retail level through the Covid-19 crisis, with fewer promotions on offer. “In the last six weeks, the percentage of category volume sold on promotion fell sharply from year ago levels—a reduction of 8 percentage points for wine, 10 percentage points for spirits, and a whopping 15 percentage points for beer,” Nielsen noted.
From March 7 through May 2, the wine category saw off-premise dollar sales increase 30% year-on-year, including a 36% jump in the most recent week, as white wine and Champagne showed growing momentum. Among the top 100 wine SKUs in Nielsen channels, 90% are selling at higher prices than a year ago, and 75% are selling at higher prices than they were in February.
Spirits have enjoyed the biggest off-premise bounce across all alcohol categories through the crisis, posting 34% dollar growth from March 7 through May 2, and a 39% gain in the most recent week. Ready-to-drink cocktails, cordials, Tequila, gin, and Irish whiskey led the way in growth terms as the calendar turned to May.—Daniel Marsteller