Alcohol sales rise by £172 million as ‘premiumisation’ grows in UK supermarkets

Alcohol sales continue to rise in their millions in supermarkets as retailers continue to build on ‘premiumisation’, according to new figures.

Magnums continue to grow in the supermarket sector.

Alcohol sales are up by nearly £172 million compared to this time last year, according to the latest analysis from market research body Kantar Worldpanel.

While volume sales have increased, Kantar said the rate of growth could be put down to consumers “choosing more expensive festive tipples” than previous years.

Gin, whisky and sparkling wine all saw significant growth, with the juniper-based spirit being crowned this financial quarter’s runaway leader.

Sales of gin across all retailers rose by 26% compared with the same period time last year. Whiskey sales also spiked by 10%, while sparkling wine grew by 7%.

Alcohol sales are on the rise thanks in-part to the “premiumisation” of the UK’s off-trade drinks industry, Kantar analyst Fraser McKevitt told the drinks business earlier this year.

Last month, Waitrose added a range of half-bottles to its own-label selection as part of a revamp of its mid-tier range.

Both Lidl and Aldi have ramped up their drinks offerings in the run-up to the festive period, with the former marketing a “hangover-free” Prosecco, and Aldi introducing its own wine advent calendar for £49.99, alongside a Prosecco Jeroboam retailing at £30.

Moreover, many grocers are finding they have “too much floor-space,” which goes some way to explaining why stores such as Waitrose and Morrisons have been experimenting with launching bars of their own at branches across the UK.

“Converting that space to an on-trade version makes a lot of sense for them,” he said.

“This impressive growth is mainly a result of consumers choosing more expensive festive tipples,” Mckevitt said today.

“Gin, whisky and sparkling wine all saw significant growth: up by 26%, 10% and 7% respectively as shoppers pushed the boat out.  Still small but growing rapidly, non-alcoholic beer is the new kid on the block this Christmas – growing sales by 27% during the past 12 weeks.”

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