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Pernod predicts return to form for Christmas spirit(s)

Published:  30 September, 2022

Pernod Ricard is banking on the return of a pre-pandemic Christmas atmosphere this year, with its festive campaigns revealing a heavy focus on leveraging treating behaviours amid a tense economy, bouyed by the world cup.

Christmas 2021 was billed to be a huge occasion until a new variant of Covid kept people at home in small groups, the Campo Viejo producer said in its Christmas 2022 update. This year however, Pernod Ricard UK predicts that December 2022 will be a far more convivial affair, with the return of large gatherings taking place alongside the first-ever winter World Cup.

As a result, the French giant is predicting a “balance between enjoying a truly ‘free’ Christmas and managing less disposable income”.

“The long-term premiumisation trend is a resilient one, with people drinking less but better and, as they do, engaging more with what they’re drinking, paying more attention to wine pairings and enjoying more cocktails,” Chris Shead, off-trade channel director for Pernod Ricard UK, said.

“During tough economic times, people still choose to purchase little luxuries to treat themselves, and wine and spirits is an area where people traditionally spend more to treat themselves or others. In the off-trade, we will see some trade-down. However, people will also trade up when staying in to make the occasion more special.”

Pernod Ricard UK advises retailers to expect three key trends this Christmas: growth in at-home group socialising; increased budget control, shopping lists and less spontaneous purchases; investment of time to make drinks special, while using up pre-owned ingredients.

Despite rising energy bills, inflation and increased costs of living, Pernod noted that the share of premium+ spirits in retail has remained higher than pre-pandemic times – even in this year’s challenging environment (Nielsen data to June 2022).

As part of its focus on cocktails-at-home, the company is launching a YouTube channel dedicated to bitesize content that can be easily followed at home. Launching in November, the YouTube channel will feature ‘fun, festive tutorials of how to create the most-searched winter cocktails including an Absolut and Kahlúa Espresso Martini and The Glenlivet Hot Toddy’.

Gifting will also remain key: 60% of shoppers are predicted to give alcohol as a gift this Christmas. Meanwhile, 40% are looking to treat friends and family despite economic pressures. For those willing to spend, it is clear there is opportunity for those offering indulgent treats and ways to celebrate.