CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest research into the market here highlights some of the key trends emerging in the Irish on-trade this year including signs of consumers’ trading-up, the popularity of drinks that can’t be recreated at home and cocktails driving the growth of vodka. CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest research highlights some of the key trends during this period.
Its On-Premise Measurement data for Ireland in the six months to June 2022 vs three years ago reveals that more consumers are opting for serves they can’t recreate at home and city centres are showing promising signs of recovery, claims the researcher.
On-trade showing signs of Premiumisation
Some 93% of on-trade outlets returned to being fully operational although 7% were lost as a result of the lasting impacts of Covid-19.
Long Alcoholic Drinks in outlets failed to return to 2019 levels with volumes only returning to 84% of 2019’s levels. But sales values were higher, reaching 89% of 2019’s levels as the market showed signs of Premiumisation with prices increasing by 6.2%. Spirits were slower to return to 2019 volumes, settling at 72% ‘though a higher value 75% of 2019’s levels also reflected signs of Premiumisation.
Consumers choosing serves they couldn’t recreate at home
Consumers continued to revisit the segments that were most heavily impacted by operating restrictions. As a result, wet-led venues continued to push ahead, with spirits leading the way. These revitalised segments grew in share by 2.1 percentage points vs 2019, accounting for 78% of the Irish spirits market. LADs enjoyed a more stable market vs three years ago but, as with spirits, pubs saw the biggest growth, where LADs were up 0.6 percentage points.
City centres recovered well – but for spirits rather than LAD
Regionally, Cork and Dublin gained a greater share of the spirits sales mix (up 1.3pp and & 3.8pp respectively), with consumers returning to city centre areas, reports CGA by NielsenIQ.
At the opposite end of the scale, Leinster saw the biggest decline vs 2019 in spirits, down by 3.8pp. Again, the LAD market remained more stable, with the biggest win in Connaught and Ulster, up by 1.2pp vs three years ago, compared to the biggest decline in Cork, (down 0.8pp).
Stout a top performer
With consumers craving those serves that couldn’t be replicated at home during lockdowns Stout continued to dominate within LAD, growing share by 3.9pp vs 2019. The appetite for an authentic on-trade serve was further evidenced, with draught continuing to gain over the packaged format. As a result, draught LAD share was up 3.1pp whilst packaged lager was down 2.1pp, with packaged ale down 1.5pp.
Cocktails drive vodka growth
Vodka continued to lead in spirits. Driven by the return of on-trade drinking and the popularity of cocktails, it accounted for 27.9% of the spirits category, up by 1.8pp versus three years ago. In addition, ‘liqueurs and specialities’, the second-largest growth category, was up by 1.4pp vs 2019 as consumers increasingly opted for cocktails. Demographically, the slower return of older consumers may have caused whiskey to be the most significant loser in spirits, declining by 1.9pp. Gin also lost 0.6pp share.
“It felt like the sector was just starting to find its feet again after Covid-19 when the cost-of-living crisis started to loom large,” said Sian Brennan, Client Director for Ireland at CGA by NielsenIQ, “Despite more market turbulence, wet-led sales held their own for the first part of 2022, with an appetite for higher value products presenting an opportunity for sales growth in premium categories. And the fact that stout and draft were big winners is encouraging – it’s acknowledgement from the consumer that there’s no substitute for a real pint pulled in a pub.”