Nielsen: US market adapts to ‘new normal’ as wine sales slow
US off-trade consumers are settling into new normal following the incredible sales spikes seen at the height of the pandemic, the latest data from Nielsen has shown, but US wine appears to be losing out to imports from New Zealand, Italy and France in the most recent weeks.
According to the data for the week ending 22 August, wine in the US off-trade grew 17.4%, marginally lower than the previous week, and well below the 25.2% of the whole Covid period to date. Spirits meanwhile led the charge at with growth of 26.2% (down from 27.2% last week, or 33.5% over the whole Covid-period to date) led by the whiskey (24.2%), which accounts for a third of the spirits category, tequila (+59.1%), ready-to-drink cocktails (+101%) and cognac (+53.2%).
Hard seltzers also saw triple digit gains, up 113% this week, compared to the same period last year. Although this growth has slowed slightly, it still accounts for 10.2% of sales in the latest week. Craft and super-premium beer also showed strong sales within the core beer category, which rose 9.8% overall.
Drilling into wine sales, sparkling wine grew well ahead of table wine, rising 35.5%, compared to table wine’s 13.3% growth. However the data showed sales of American table wine are losing out to wines imported from New Zealand (23.6%), Italy (23.3%) and France (18.7%) at a faster rate than pre-pandemic, with the market share of domestic table wine falling 3 percentage points, on the back of a 2.5 percentage point decline in Californian wine.
Consumers are settling into a new normal, according to Nielsen’s vice president of beverage alcohol Danella Kosmal, with year on year trends up 18.5%
However, Kosmal stressed that although off-premise growth rates for alcohol continue to outpace growth rates of total consumer goods, the off-premise growth was not enough to make up for the total losses in on-premise channels. “There has been a significant shift in volume from on-premise channels, which has exaggerated growth rates for off-premise alcohol,” she said.
The latest data showed that the on premise saw steady growth, showing the seventh consecutive week without decline, with the average rate of sale per average establishment up 3% compared to last week. This metric varied in different states across the US, with New York rising 4% in the last week, and Illinois seeing the strongest growth, at 11%, making it only a third (36%) below the ‘normal’ level of the same week last year.
However, the average rate of sale in outlets that are currently open is still down 22% compared to the same period last year.