Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, a proud part of AB InBev, is forecasting a stellar year for beer sales in 2021 in the Off-Trade, following stand-out performance of the category in 2020.
Beer sales grew 28.9% in grocery, and 37.5% in impulse last year, as customers shopped for an additional 20 million at-home alcohol occasions each month in 2020. Even as restrictions lift, Budweiser Brewing Group predicts the at-home occasion will remain popular this year as consumers celebrate the return of the summer of sport and spend quality time with loved ones. The brewer forecasts a significant 12-15%growth for the total beer category, with impulse and convenience growing 3-4% ahead of the market, compared to the last year of regular trading in 2019.
Neil Baker, head of category management at Budweiser Brewing Group says: “It may be the Year of the Ox in the Chinese Zodiac but in the Off-Trade, 2021 will be the year for beer. We saw a once-in-a-generation shift in consumer behaviour last year – lockdowns led more of us to shop locally, as well as to a rise in at-home occasions. These trends are here to stay, even as restrictions ease.”
“This year, whether it’s helping customers stock up on best-loved beers for Euro 2021, or for a get-together with extended family, there’s a huge opportunity for retailers to maintain this sales momentum. But stores must prepare in order to tap into these moments effectively, and that means starting now.”
To help retailers make the most of the Year for Beer, Budweiser Brewing Group has identified five significant beer-led opportunities for the Off-Trade this year:
- Bank Holiday Beer and Easter Cheer
Easter is one of the key selling moments for the Beer category, with sales spikes coinciding with the bank holiday weekend. We can expect an even larger boost in sales this year, as many Brits plan celebrations during the four-day Easter Bank Holiday weekend to compensate for an underwhelming festive period.
Top tip: Retailers can kickstart Q2 revenue by spotlighting premium product lines at Easter, building on the huge swing towards premium beer last year. Corona is a stand-out choice here, with share of total and world beer typically spiking during the Easter weekend.
- Summer of Sport
The return of international sport brings a summer of opportunities for retailers, particularly with much-anticipated events such as the rescheduled Euros. Televised sport is a huge driver for at-home beer consumption – 2018’s FIFA World Cup, the last big tournament on our screens, drove the biggest monthly sales in category history.
Top tip: It’s not just beer fans that will be stocking up; football entices new shoppers to the beer category, with known brands out-performing competitors. Budweiser, official beer partner of the English Premier League, and Bud Light, official beer of the England Men’s Football Team, will be helping retailers make the most of the summer of sport with a range of planned giveaways and POS support.
- Eat, Drink and be Merry
Beer has become a new staple at mealtimes, with three out of five beers now consumed with food. The average consumer is increasing their purchase repertoire for moments at home, inviting retailers to appeal to a new audience through food and drink pairings in 2021.
Top tip: In-store, ready-made bundles, such as beer and pizza meal deals proved popular last year and are a great way for retailers to maximise shopper spend. A multi-million pound campaign pairing Stella Artois with the at-home food occasion will launch later this year to help retailers maximise Brits’ love for pairing food with beer.
- ‘Tis the Season
Despite restricted celebrations last year, December 2020 was the biggest month on record for take-home grocery sales, with alcohol the fastest growing category, attracting double digits growth in both volume and value sales. Stella Artois, originally brewed for the holidays, remained the number one alcohol brand of the season, highlighting the opportunity for year-round brands to shine in-store.
Top Tip: As people host festive celebrations mid and large packs become more valuable, recording a 45% volume increase at Christmas, compared to the rest of 2020. We should expect mid and large packs to be even more popular this year, as people are able to celebrate together once more.
- Dry January 2022
The no and low alcohol segment has grown consistently over the last five years, with value now growing ahead of volume. Retailers must think about every beer occasion as a potential no and low moment in 2021, particularly towards the end of the year in the run-up to Dry January.
Top tip: Brand is the most important factor in no and low decisions. Leveraging parent brands in shopper communications will drive shoppers to the no and low fixture and increase basket spend. Our Stella Artois Alcohol Free launch last year shows the power of a well-known parent brand in attracting new shoppers to the beer category – 42% of Stella Artois Alcohol Free’s sales are new beer drinkers.