CHRISTMAS is crucial for drinks retailers, spirits – especially premium spirits – see sales rise dramatically over the festive season, indulgent products also see strong sales and convenience retailers can benefit from stocking fractional sizes of big-selling lines. Those are some of the main Christmas messages from the category development team at drinks giant Diageo, brand owner of Smirnoff, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan and other spirits as well as Guinness and Pimm’s.
While beer still dominates total beverage alcohol sales spirits have contributed the most growth, adding £198m to sales and accounting for 55% of beverage alcohol growth, and last Christmas the spirits category grew by £77m, faster than any other alcohol category, said James Cragg, Diageo’s GB head of category development.
“For the off-trade, the top 10 brands deliver 46% of spirits category sales in the Christmas period, so making these brands available and highly visible is crucial,” he said.
“39% of annual premium spirits sales are in the 12 weeks to Christmas, so it’s a great time to emphasise premium products in store. Innovation delivered £14m growth to off-trade spirits last year , and gifting packs grew at 31% last Christmas, so having an impactful presence of the big innovation and gifting brands is crucial to drive sales.”
Patricia Mota, the company’s category development manager said: “Fractionals are the life blood of the impulse channel, driving 70% of all spirits growth as they provide consumers with the choice to buy a specific bottle size to suit their chosen occasion.
“Fractionals are also key during the Christmas period, particularly in the vodka category as they contribute 53% of vodka growth, with 20cl driving over half of this increase.”
Paul Isherwood, Diageo GB head of off-trade category development said: “Trading up is another big sales opportunity over the festive season.
“Retailers can make the most of the occasion by planning well in advance and stocking up on must-stock premium variants such as Smirnoff Gold and Baileys Chocolat Luxe.”
Guy Dodwell, sales director for the off-trade, stressed what he sees as some key seasonal opportunities.
“There is already a strong association between Baileys and Christmas,” he said.
“We will be helping retailers make the most of this opportunity by inspiring shoppers with display and POS options.
“Our ultra-premium vodka brand, Ciroc, is up by 205% in the last year and holds the number one-spot in ultra-premium vodka.
“Demand for gin continues to rise as consumers search for special experiences and serves. Driving the total category, premium gin is in growth, up 19% by volume and 35% by value. Tanqueray gin remains in double digit growth, with sales of Tanqueray No. Ten up a remarkable 82.9%.”