Displaying alcohol at the end of an aisle can boost sales by up to 46%, a study has revealed.

Spirits sales grew 46%, wine sales 34% and beer sales 23% at aisle ends compared to inside aisles, in figures adjusted to take into account price, price promotion and the number of display locations for each product.

Price also had an impact on sales choices – more so for alcohol than other products.

For every 1% decrease in price beer sales grew 5.6%, wine sales 5.2% and spirits sales 5%.

That compared to rises of 2.3% for carbonated drinks, 2% for coffee and 1.8% for tea.

The research, carried out by the Universities of Cambridge and East Anglia and funded by the Department of Health, was based on shopper behaviour in one branch of a major supermarket in England.

Lead author Dr Nakamura, of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said: “Our study shows, for the first time, that these types of displays dramatically influence people’s decisions to purchase alcohol. Prohibiting or limiting this marketing tactic for less healthy options, or utilising this for healthier ones, holds the promising possibility of encouraging healthier lifestyle choices.”

Co-author Professor Theresa Marteau, director of the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at the University of Cambridge, said: “Although we often assume price is the biggest factor in purchase choices, end-of-aisle displays may play a far greater role. It would therefore make sense that any intervention to curb the consumption of alcohol and sugar-sweetened drinks takes this into consideration.”

The study also found that aisle-end displays boosted sales of carbonated drinks by 52%.