Cider sales push past £1 billion barrier

Warm weather at the beginning of the summer propelled annual cider sales past the £1 billion barrier for the first time since 2014.

The category is up 5.5% in the year to July 15, 2017 (Nielsen), which analysed EPOS data from 20,000 UK shops.

Sales between mid-May and mid-July, when the UK basked in a heatwave, were up 16% and this drove the full year into excellent growth.  

“This is extremely welcome news for cider manufacturers after what’s been a sustained period of struggle,” said Helen Stares, a Nielsen analyst and DRN columnist. “However, it also highlights how highly dependent the cider industry is on good weather – essentially it’s been brought back into growth off the back of some near record-breaking temperatures. 

“Cider is arguably the most reliant alcohol on good weather in terms of consumer behaviour. Its key to long term and sustainable growth is making itself more attractive to people outside of the BBQ season, as indicated by our preliminary data showing sales dropped off quite notably once the weather worsened from late July.”

Cider brands experiencing particularly strong growth across the year included Thatchers (up 44%), Kopparberg (+21%) and Rekorderlig (+17%). Strongbow retains the largest market share of 28%.
British households also spent an extra 9% on beer between May and July compared to the same period in the previous year, and the category is now up 5% to £3.9 billion.

There was no major international football tournament this summer, and that is usually a huge driver of sales, making beer’s performance all the more remarkable as it is up significantly on last summer, when Euro 2016 was in full swing.

“Even against that comparison, over half a million households bought beer in the early summer of 2017 that didn’t in the equivalent period in 2016,” said Stares. “Alongside new customers, sales revenues are up due to a combination of higher prices and shoppers trading up to more premium brands.”

Beer brands with particularly strong growth across the year included Corona and Coors Light, both up 25%, Budweiser, which grew 18% and Peroni, up 15%. Stella Artois remains the market leader, with 12.5% market share.

Other star performers include gin, sparkling wine and rum. 

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