Skip to content
Blog ,   /   2 Min Read

We’re all drinking to the alcohol category’s health during lockdown

  • SalesOut
  • SalesOut


With all the stresses and pressures of the lockdown lifestyle, it’s no great surprise that the Beers, Wines and Spirits category has been one of the top performers during 2020.

In this short blog, we get behind the headlines and take a closer look at some of the facts and figures that give us good knowledge of what happened last time and what patterns we can expect to see repeated during the second lockdown.

Expert comment

Let’s start by looking at what happened during the first lockdown that began in March. Kirsty Harris-Clarke, Managing Director of SalesOut, offers some interesting background detail for wholesalers: "Our analysis from the first two weeks of the initial lockdown in March showed that total alcohol sales grew 34% and the number of stores buying into the alcohol category also grew by approximately 10%.”

“More insights are revealed as we delve deeper into the subcategories,” Kirsty continued. “The three biggest growing subcategories in terms of sales in alcohol in the first two weeks were lager (up 71%), fortified wine (up 61%) and ale (up 55%).”

“An interesting point to note, and this would seem to reflect the mood of the nation perfectly, is that sparkling wine saw a decrease of 9%, liqueurs were down 14% and pre-mixed cocktails fell by 3%. Consumers just weren’t in a celebratory mood, given all the restrictions and health scares that accompanied the pandemic, and that same subdued sentiment is likely to be evident again this time around, despite the fact that Christmas is fast approaching.”

Recommendations for Lockdown 2

Kirsty believes consumers are not looking for ground-breaking or premium products to replace their trips to the pub. Offering a good, well-stocked range of standard lager, wine and beer, is likely to be the best way to achieve the most positive sales impact.

With her opinions shaped by new data and insight from the SalesOut OneView platform, Kirsty was able to predict how things are likely to play out in the weeks to come. “While we expect to see an initial uplift in the alcohol category, this is only likely to be short term. The first lockdown showed that sales started to stabilise as the situation became more familiar and we moved further into lockdown. So, wholesale customers should expect the pub and bar trade to take back sales share as and when they reopen.”

Tis the season to be uncertain

If the lockdown continues further into December than the current proposed end date, sales within the category are likely to increase growing as consumers look to get into the festive spirit themselves, without being able to rely on the help of the pub and bar sector.

Kirsty is concerned that, “this could potentially pose issues with stocking and supply. To avoid problems, the wholesale industry must get together and push for clarification from the government on the length of the lockdown. This will be imperative for wholesalers if they are going to be able to meet demand.”

Kirsty concluded with a reassuring message for the trade: “SalesOut will continue to monitor the data as lockdown progresses and will be providing both wholesalers and suppliers with insights as we move into a crucial time of the year for the industry. With OneView, we can overlay further metrics, such as flavours and pack sizes, to enhance data if any of the trade publications would like to see more detailed information.”

For more detailed information on changing customer behaviour during the Covid crisis and what it means for wholesalers and retailers, please book a OneView Demo.

Published 5 October, 2021

Speak to us

Book a call back from one of the team to discuss our product, services, or to book a demo.

Related Articles

12 May
COVID-19, Blog, OneView, SalesOut
Good health! Early pub sales give cause for optimism Outdoor Hospitality Many of us have been gleefully taking advantage of the re-opening of pub gardens, wrapped up like Christmas carol singer ...
By SalesOut 2 Minute Read
12 Nov
Blog, OneView, SalesOut
Lessons learned from the first lockdown So, here we are again, back in another national lockdown. At least, we have the heart-warming news that an effective vaccine is now on the h ...
By SalesOut 2 Minute Read
25 Aug
COVID-19, OneView, SalesOut
As temperatures rise, how is the Frozen category perform ... The middle of summer (even a rainy one in the UK) seems to be an opportune time to review the performance of the Frozen category across Conv ...
By SalesOut 2 Minute Read