Merry Christmas for alcohol

The alcohol sector saw great growth last Christmas with alcohol, as one of three seasonal categories driving what has been a positive performance in consumer spend according to Nielsen Ireland.

Alcoholic products constituted six of the top 20 incremental sales sectors for the November/December period when compared with the same period in 2015.

Every category within the alcohol sector demonstrated a strong performance last Christmas.

Consumers enjoyed 90 million pints in pubs and bars across the country in the months of November and December, a rise of 2.4% year-on-year according to Nielsen Total On-Trade Data to December 2016.

In the off-trade, 621,000 bottles of Champagne and sparkling wine were also consumed via the multiples and independents in the months of November and December representing a year-on-year rise of 18%. Indeed, the two weeks immediately before Christmas witnessed 14% of the entire year’s total off-trade Champagne and sparkling wine sales.

These figures emerged as part of Nielsen’s Christmas Review of 2016 held in the CityWest Hotel recently and presented by Nielsen’s Commercial Director Matt Clark.

However despite the boost in sales consumers continue looking for general savings, he said, with some 48% intending to cut down on out-of-home entertainment in 2017 (up 4% on the 2015 figure for 2016).

Nevertheless, Matt Clark pointed out that the alcohol sector saw great growth with alcohol, as one of the three seasonal categories – groceries, confectionery and alcohol – driving what has been a positive performance in consumer spend and showing a 4.9% year-on-year increase in value in the November/December two-month period.

Indeed alcoholic products constituted six of the top 20 products in the incremental sales sector for the November/December period when compared with the same period in 2015.

Sales of Long Alcohol Drinks showed incremental sales of €4.08 million on the same period in 2015 while table wine sales showed an increment of €2.73 million and whiskey €1.91 million.

Alongside this vodka showed sales were up €1.85 million while gin was up €1.58m and sparkling wines a sales increment of €1.56m when comparing the two November/December periods.

In fact, he stated, alcohol had delivered half of all incremental value, up by €12.7 million and 72% of multiples’ growth where promotions were key to driving footfall.

Alcohol constituted one of only four key categories driving multiples’ Christmas growth and Nielsen’s Strategic Planner had found that only alcohol had performed better in the multiples at Christmas-time (up 4.2% or by €9.1 million) when compared to the overall MAT figure (2.1%).















Alcohol driving multiples’ growth

The alcohol growth drivers in the multiples last November/December comprised premium spirits such as gin (up 29% or by €1.7 million) and whiskey (up 4% or by €1.8 million), sparkling wine (up 20% or by €1.7 million), table wine (up 1% or by €1.2m), lager (up 5% or by €1.9m) and ale (up 12% or by €300,000).

Jameson topped the Incremental Brands Top 20 list by value, increasing sales by €696,000 in the eight weeks ending Christmas Day. Powers was second, Heineken fourth, Hennessy sixth, Orchard Thieves seventh and Hop House 13 in 20th slot in the multiples category.

In the discounters the O’Hara’s brand came in 10th with Kopparberg in 16th place.



As a key seasonal category alcohol was responsible for 34.3% of value in the convenience stores, up 1.5% year-on-year for November/December 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

Alcohol brands had four of the Top 20 Incremental Value Brands in convenience stores with Smirnoff in third place, Jameson in fifth place, Orchard Thieves in ninth place and Powers in 14th place according to Nielsen’s ScanTrack Data for the eight weeks ending Christmas Day.



The effectiveness of advertising in the November/December period was also demonstrated with Coca-Cola continuing to top the FMCG Brand table and Heineken Lager coming second for the second year in a row (having taken this position from Carlsberg Lager in 2014).

Guinness, Smithwick’s and Carlsberg came third, fourth and fifth respectively in 2016. In 2015 these slots were occupied by Carlsberg, Hop House 13 and Ferrero Raffaelo respectively.

Interestingly, Schweppes Tonic (seventh in 2016’s FMCG list) and Lucozade Energy Drink (eighth) only appear in the Top 10 FMCG list at this particular time of the year.

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