With Christmas 2022 being characterised by inflation and the cost of living crisis, the usually lucrative festive season looked uncertain for drinks retailers. 

However, NielsenIQ found that, with aid from the World Cup opportunity and Christmas promotions, beer, wine and spirits sales in supermarkets grew by 0.1% compared to December 2021. Christmas week alone saw an 11.6% increase in BWS sales compared to the same period in 2021. 

Elsewhere, insights from Kantar for the four weeks up to December 25 demonstrate success for cream liqueurs, malt whisky, craft beer and Champagne in particular. Similarly, traditional festive products such as mulled wine saw considerable growth compared to the same time period last year.

In the world of spirits, categories such as rum and tequila proved popular during the festive period. Compared to the four weeks ending December 25 in 2021, spirits saw the greatest overall growth in December 2022, with low/no spirits, golden rum and tequila coming out on top. 

In wine, Kantar found that total sparkling sales (including Champagne) saw a -2.8% drop compared to the 4 weeks ending December 26 in 2021. However, Champagne sales outperformed total sparkling sales in terms of growth, with Kantar recording a 16.3% increase during December 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021. 

Turning to specific retailers, Christmas 2022 was a hit for wine specialist Majestic, which said it was the “second-biggest Christmas trading performance” in its history. The retailer noted December 23 2022 as its “busiest ever” trading day with top sellers including English sparkling (up 19% in sales terms) and Cava (up 29%).

Commenting on 2023, Majestic CEO John Colley said that while the year may present challenges for the drinks industry, successful Christmas sales have left the retailer feeling “more confident than ever” that it will weather the cost of living crisis.