This increase in spend on alcohol – the highest spend seen by Nielsen in the latest 52 weeks – is attributed to rising at home consumption following the closure of bars and restaurants here amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Indeed alcohol sales in the week ending 12th April were 2.2% higher than in the week ending 22nd December 2019 and 15% up on Christmas Week itself (to 29th December 2019).
2020’s Easter Week sales even outsold St Patrick’s Week (which ended on the 22nd March) by 38%.
Nielsen’s Total Store Read scans the multiples market (excluding Dunnes Stores), the discounters & symbol groups as well as the forecourts & specialist off-licences.
“Our impression is that this significant rise in alcohol sales in Ireland is mainly as a result of pub closures, as we are seeing growth in several alcohol categories that usually wouldn’t be quite as associated with at home drinking, such as stout and whiskey,” said Nielsen Market Leader Karen Mooney, “However, it’s important to understand that these alcohol sales were also boosted by the fact that it was Easter week which we know generally has much higher levels of alcohol sales compared to most weeks in the year, aside from the major holidays.”
According to Nielsen, demand for stout skyrocketed by 177%, reaching €2.7 million in sales, while lager sales grew by 78% reaching €15.3 million. Table wines (up 27%) accounted for €15.6m whilst sparkling wine and Champagne (up 21%) reached €1.1 million in the week ending on Easter Sunday.
Over the four week period to the 12th April off-trade alcohol sales grew 57% vs the same period last year according to Nielsen.
During this four-week period beer sales were up 84%, spirits sales were up 40% and table wines showed growth of 42%. Alcohol was also the highest-growing category in the week to the 5th April, showing sales up by 58% to €38.1 million compared to the same week in 2019, up 6.3% on the previous week as the closure of pubs began to bite around the country.
In the week to the 5th April stout sales grew 187% to €2.1 million compared to the same week last year.
Spirit mixers too saw growth of 94% compared to the same week in 2019 while lager was up 85% and cider 62%. Whiskey continues to find itself in favour with consumers unable to get to the pub and showed a growth of 62% to €2.5 million compared to the previous year’s figures.