It’s Christmas, but not as we know it, says Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard range

Christmas 2020 is set to be a very unusual one for local retailers across the UK. With the on-trade operating at much reduced capacity and consumers now firmly entrenched in their new lockdown drinking-at-home habits, this year’s festive season represent a significant but challenging opportunity for retailers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated consumer trends that were already starting to emerge and Pernod Ricard UK (PRUK) has predicted these trends will continue driving wine and spirits growth this Christmas, and has highlighted three key levers to unlock sales and profit growth over the festive season.

  • Get in early:  PRUK expects shoppers to start buying wines and spirits for Christmas much earlier than they usually do, to minimise time spent in stores at the sharp end of December.
  • Festival-at-home cocktail occasions: One trend noted by PRUK during lockdown is increased experimentation with serves, particularly cocktails with fewer ingredients that are easier to make. Again, the drinks giant expects this trend to continue through to Christmas.
  • Back the winning categories: Independent research by PRUK identified gifting (48%) and hosting (56%) as the main reasons for spirit purchases at Christmas. The company identified Gin, Vodka, Irish Whiskey and Wine as four key categories that have seen exponential growth during lockdown.

Gin has been remarkably resilient during the pandemic; PRUK’s gin portfolio has been in strong growth, with Beefeater up 99.5% in value and 96.5% in the off-trade from mid-April to mid-June and Plymouth up 33.6% over the same period.

Vodka is now the second biggest value contributor in Total Spirits after flavoured Gin, worth £45.9m in value sales. Absolut is the fastest growing brand in its competitive set and is experiencing strong value growth momentum (up 18.3%).

Irish Whiskey is the second-fastest growing category behind Gin, with Jameson leading its remarkable growth. Jameson is the number one Irish Whiskey brand and is seeing a significant performance in the off-trade (up 22.1% value).

Wine has seen 27% value growth and 22% volume growth during lockdown. PRUK is ramping up investment in the category and claims the number one red wine and number white wine in the UK with Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate respectively.