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Off-trade wine sales up £32.8m, volumes down 3.2% over Xmas, says Nielsen

Published:  22 January, 2014

Off-trade wine sales grew by £32.8 million over the festive period, but sales fell by 3.2% by volume, according to Nielsen.

Overall the off-trade ended 2013 with total BWS volume sales up slightly by 0.1% over Christmas, while value sales rose 3.6%, according to the latest Nielsen ScanTrack data for the 12 weeks ending January 4, 2014.

Taking a closer look at wine, Australia was the number one bestselling wine by value, but South Africa grew the most, up by £19.9 million, which Nielsen BWS analyst Helen Stares said was down to "currency exchange rate becoming more favourable, meaning more South African products coming into the UK market".

Spain, which was last year's star performer, fell by £10.9 million.

Rose wine fell by 4.3% by volume, while red was down 3.7% and white 2.5%. Over the 12 weeks of Christmas trading red wine sold £638.7 million versus white wine sales of £631.3 million.

Echoing the picture elsewhere, sparkling wine grew while Champagne sales declined slightly, as many consumers seek out better value in Prosecco and Cava.

Sparkling wine was the only BWS category, other than cider, to show volume and value growth. Value was up by 14.8%, and volume rose 5.5%. Just over two thirds of sparkling wine was sold on promotion, but the average promoted price increased by 12%. Overall the average price of a bottle of sparkling wine was up by £0.54 on last year to £6.64.

Champagne value sales were up 3.2% but volumes fell by 1.1% - this still represented an improvement on the rest of 2013. It is the key promoted product over Christmas, and 71% of sales were discounted, although discounted prices were 4% higher than last year.


Top 5 light wine brands (by value) over Christmas

2Blossom Hill£51.5m
3Echo Falls£36.9m
4Gallo Family Vineyards£31.7m
5Wolf Blass£28.7m

Top 5 sparkling wine brands (by value) over Christmas

4Borgo Sanleo£5.5m

Top 5 Champagne brands (by value) over Christmas

1Moet & Chandon£17.1m
2Veuve Clicquot£12.3m

Sparkling wins fared well over Christmas in the off-trade, according to Nielsen





Heidsieck Monopole



Pierre Darcy's



While spirits grew £53.6 million by value compared to last Christmas, volume sales were flat.  Promotions had a major role to play in this category too, with 56% of sales being discounted, a slight increase on last year.

Top 10 spirits brands (by value) over Christmas

1Smirnoff Red Label£115.3m
2The Famous Grouse£78.4m
3Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey£60.0m
4Bailey's Original£52.2m
6Bell's Original£39.7m
7Glen's vodka£38.4m
8Bacardi Superior£37.4m
9Russian Standard£30.5m
10Grant's Family Reserve£25.0m

Trend towards premiumisation

Looking at the BWS category as a whole, given higher duty, rising prices and the trend towards more premium products, the value increase of 3.6% is not surprising, but once the effect of duty and VAT is removed, value rose 4.1%, "more evidence of a move towards more expensive drinks going into the consumer's basket", said Stares.

As Christmas Day was on a Wednesday, many shoppers delayed buying until the Sunday 22 and Monday 23 December, but sales were higher than the previous year as many retailers kickstarted their promotions with deep deals.

Taking a closer look at promotions, the proportion of liquor volume sold on promotion increased slightly to 57%, but deals weren't as deep as the previous year since the average promoted price per litre was up 3.8%.

Half of all purchases were made at out-of-town stores (50.3%) which was up 2.9% on last year. But convenience stores shone, taking 28.4% value share of BWS and showing growth of 5.8% - accounted for by growing number of the major multiples convenience outlets.

Overall beer and cider had a good Christmas, with beer sales up 2.4% by value, and 1% by volume. Cider was up 7.4% by volume and 3.2% by volume.

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