Indeed alcohol was one of the top three categories to see strong and accelerated Christmas growth stated Matt Clark, Nielsen Ireland’s Commercial Director, who presented Nielsen’s FMCG Review of Christmas 2015 at the Tony Ryan Business Academy in Citywest Business Park recently.
Our readiness to spend on FMCG showed its biggest increase in the last quarter of 2015, he stated.
Initially only 16% intended to spend more this Xmas than last with 43% intending to spend about the same amount.
Subsequently, Nielsen found that FMCG retail volumes and values were both up by 3.2% for Christmas 2015 (November and December).
Indeed there was value growth in all categories with the off-trade alcohol category growing 2.5% in value and 3.5% in volume in this period.
Off-trade alcohol sales grew 2.1% MAT to 27th December 2015 according to Nielsen’s Scantrack (which includes Dunnes Stores and the discounters). But it grew 6.8% in the two weeks before Christmas when compared to the same two-week period in 2014.
The convenience stores, however, didn’t see any of this growth in alcohol sales, notes Nielsen which recorded a decline in alcohol sales values there of 2.6% for this period. It reports that alcohol sales volumes in the off-trade grew 1.4% MAT to December 15th (up 0.2% in value) and by 4.9% in the three month period to December 15th (up 3.1% in value) compared with the same three- month period in 2014.
Off-trade alcohol sales volumes in December 2015 itself were up 8.2% on those for December 2014 while values were up 6.1%.
Nielsen also drilled down to find that off-trade stout sales showed growth of 9% in value and 17% in volume for December 2015 versus December 2014, whiskey grew 5% in value and 3% in volume, sparkling wines grew 31% in value and 24% in volume, gin was up 31% in value and 24% in volume, cider/perry grew just 3% in value and 6% in volume while ale recorded growth of 20% in both value and volume.
Lager and NABLABs grew 2% in value and 6% in volume while cream liqueurs grew 8% in value and 5% in volume with table wines growing 9% in value and 12% in volume.
Top 25 brand winners
Six of the Top 10 incremental brands were alcohol brands in the four weeks to 27th December 2015. These comprised Orchard Thieves (incremental value of €736,000 in the four weeks to 27th December), Guinness (€635,000), Carlsberg (€620,000), Molson Canadian (€583,000), Coors (€541,000) and Baileys (€401,000).
Corona saw a sales increment of €278,000 while both Jack Daniels and Heineken saw increments of €244,000.
Nielsen found that sparkling wines witnessed an incremental sales increase of €1.7million for the period November-December 2015 compared with the same two-month period the previous year. Similarly Champagne and cream liqueurs saw an incremental sales increase of €800,000 each.
Beer and soft drinks brands dominated the Top 10 FMCG brands in the 12 weeks to the weekend of 4th January with Draught Guinness, Coca-Cola, Heineken, Smithwicks, Carlsberg and Budweiser taking up positions 1 to 6 in the Top 10.
Draught Guinness remained the top spender in this quarter and while Budweiser took sixth place during this period, it doesn’t spend that much at any other time of the year.