Drinks trade counts cost of lost Christmas sales

03 December, 2010

Christmas cheer could be in short supply for the drinks industry this year, according to research from Mintel.

Over the past decade alcohol sales in the fourth quarter of the year have dropped 10% in real terms, compared to 4% for the alcohol market as a whole, the organisation said. The lost revenue adds up to more than £1 billion.

Last year alone the fall in the last quarter was 9% and Mintel predicts the situation could be as bad or worse this year.

Senior drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth said: “Over the past decade, Christmas has become steadily less profitable for the alcohol industry. However, since the economic downturn, sales have plummeted further and Mintel forecasts that Christmas 2010 is likely to see this downward trend continue.

“The VAT increase and above inflation excise duty increase planned for 2011 will also raise the cost of most alcohol drinks by as much as 8%, which will be a hard pill for consumers to swallow as they continue to feel the pinch.”

Research by Mintel found that wine tops the shopping list for Christmas drinks, with 65% of people planning to buy from the category. Fifty-one per cent say they will buy lager, while 33% will buy Champagne or sparkling wine.

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