Biggest wins for impulse as BWS sees second surge in lockdown sales

Off-trade alcohol sales saw another spike in sales in week two of the UK's Covid-19 lockdown according to new data from Nielsen.

The total value of BWS sales rose by 24% in the week ending April 4. It indicates a second wave of stocking up on home alcohol supplies by shoppers.

The off-trade previously saw a massive surge in sales in the week ending March 21, which began with the prime minister urging people not to go to pubs and ended with them all being forced to close. Sales during that week rose 55% as consumers stocked up for the anticipated lockdown.

With drinks cupboards full, sales saw a more modest increase of 11% in the week ending March 28, but the jump in sales in the week ending April 4 suggests drinkers were replenishing stocks as they worked through the first week’s purchases and stores managed to get new stock on to shelves.

The increase in grocery multiples’ BWS sales was below the market as a whole on +15%, indicating that many consumers were shopping locally for drinks supplies in the week after the government added off-licences to the list of essential retailers.

The biggest winners in the week-to-April 4 figures were beer (+40% in total off-trade) and cider (+34%).

Wine was up 26% and spirits increased by 19%. Spirits had risen just 1% in the previous week but 61% the week before that.

Champagne (-49%) and sparkling wine (-16%) both took massive hits as consumers found little to celebrate.

Grocery multiples’ collective wine sales actually fell by 2% in value in the week ending April 4.

Gemma Cooper, senior commercial business partner at Nielsen, said: “For the impulse channel it’s the best weekly performance since the beginning of the pandemic.

“We are for sure seeing shoppers avoiding larger supermarket stores in favour of those smaller impulse stores, which we know are so pivotal for the off-trade.

“Are we starting to see a trend emerging in key spirits categories of shoppers stocking up every other week for their in-home consumption?

“Flavoured and spiced rum continue to be popular spirits of choice and we see flavoured gin, which saw decline in the previous week, now seeing strong growth.”

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