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Nielsen confirms sparkling wine and major spirits categories as big Christmas winners

Published:  16 January, 2015

Nielsen has confirmed that sparkling wine and the main spirits categories were the big winners during Christmas 2014.

Sparkling wine continues to be the darling of the BWS sector with sales up 31% on 2013. Nielsen said this was driven by Italian sparkling wine (principally Prosecco), which saw a 58% increase in volume. Cava and other Spanish sparkling wines saw a 10% dip against Christmas 2013.

Still wine sales performed less well with red wine down 2.3%, white wine down 1.6% and Rose also down 1.5%. But prices for still wine remained relatively stable, with a pricing increase of only 0.2%. 

Big wine winners include Campo Viejo Tempranillo which enjoyed a 75% increase in volume sales against last Christmas thanks to £5 deals it struck with the major multiples. A similar deal on Hardys Crest Red almost doubled its volume. 

Nielsen figures also reveal that the spirits category grew by £30m sales this Christmas against the same 12 weeks last year.Key performing categories were vodka (+3%), gin (+7%), non cream liqueurs (+9%) and American whisky (+12%). There was less good news for blended Scotch which was down -4%.

Nielsen highlighted  the five brands that are doing the most to drive growth as: Smirnoff Red, Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan's Spiced, Jack Daniels Honey & Gordon's.

It added: "Whilst Christmas 2013 saw the 70cl add most volume, this Christmas has seen a strong return to the litre bottle. The 35cl bottle also lost volume (-17kcs) for the second consecutive Christmas."

Average prices for a 70cl price was £13 with few incidents of discounts down to £10 or £11, whilst litre bottles sold for £15 across the main categories.

The average price for beer and cider fell 0.5% in the 12 weeks to Christmas driven by a 1.1% decline in the price of lager.  Overall volumes were up 2.1% but value only climbed 1.6% due to price declines.  

Premium lager continues to sell more than standard, a trend that started in Christmas 2013, with premium lager volumes up 8% in 2014 while standard lager declined by 2%.