The festive beer opportunity and the infamous Christmas shop

Christmas is arguably the biggest trading period of the year for the off-trade, loaded with significant opportunities for retailers. After all, it is a time of indulgence, hosting, parties and many cosy nights in – people want to make Christmas special and this is reflected in their shopping habits. In fact, last year saw the biggest spend on premium products ever, with £470m spent over the four weeks to Christmas (Kantar).

Whilst the trend of ‘premiumisation’ has been something that everyone has been talking about for the past few years, the attitudes towards it aren’t necessarily black and white. Price and value are becoming increasingly important for shoppers and will play a factor in when choosing where to shop. Consumers do want premium and quality, but at the same time they want the best possible value and they will put in the leg-work to find this. Consumers are becoming much more astute so retailers need to keep this in mind across the board.

When it comes to ‘the’ Christmas shop, there is almost a 50/50 split when it comes to the approach. In 2017, 44% of shoppers preferred a ‘big Christmas shop’, with 42% opting to spread it out with a few visits2. The almost even split offers up a few different merchandising opportunities, but keeping all key lines in stock remains the best advice for retailers in the Christmas run up.

Drinks, and in particular beer, present a phenomenal opportunity at Christmas. During the festive period, 21% of people buy beer who wouldn’t at any other point in the year – which represents an additional 2.8 million households (Kantar). These shoppers offer a massive sales opportunity, but that’s not to say it’s an easy sell.  Retailers should ensure their beer range is presented as effectively as possible.

World Beer is a real stand-out performer during Christmas, and there are now 1.1M more World Beer shoppers at this time than five years ago. Sales of World Beer have grown 13% MAT over the past five years, but over the Christmas trading period, the difference rises to 30%. Specifically, Spanish beer has become a huge success story and is going from strength to strength in the UK. San Miguel has become the nation’s favourite Spanish beer, not only becoming the number one beer in impulse but also becoming one of the elite one million hectolitre brands.

Another hot topic for retailers is low and no alcohol. In a recent Carlsberg UK survey, it was revealed that across all age groups, low and no alcohol alternatives have become more socially acceptable and that over 40% of respondents are actively trying to reduce their alcohol intake6, so offering low and no options this Christmas could be an attractive treat for creating success.

After such a fantastic year so far for beer, thanks to 2018’s great summer weather combined with a World Cup feelgood factor, we can all agree we’re in store for a cracking Christmas.

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