Cider sales top £1bn for first time in years, Nielsen reports


The warm weather at the beginning of the summer helped propel annual cider sales above the £1 billion threshold for the first time since 2014.

Sales of cider rose 5.5% year-on-year to just over £1.0 billion during the 12 months ending 15 July 2017, according to measurement company Nielsen who analysed till sales (EPOS data) in 20,000 UK shops. However, sales between the middle of May and middle of July, alone, increased 16% year-on-year. Statistics from the Met Office showed this May was the second warmest since records began in 1910, while June’s was the best for a number of years.

“This is extremely welcome news for cider manufacturers after what’s been a sustained period of struggle,” says Helen Stares, a Nielsen expert on the liquor industry. “However, it also highlights how highly dependent the cider industry is on good weather – essentially it’s been brought back into growth off the back of some near record-breaking temperatures. Cider is arguably the most reliant alcohol on good weather in terms of consumer behaviour. Its key to long term and sustainable growth is making itself more attractive to people outside of the BBQ season, as indicated by our preliminary data showing sales dropped off quite notably once the weather worsened from late July.”

Cider brands experiencing particularly strong growth across the year included Thatchers (up 44%), Kopparberg (+21%) and Rekorderlig (+17%). Strongbow remains the biggest in the sector, with 28% market share.

It wasn’t just cider that benefited from the warm weather, British households spent 9%¹ more on  beer between mid-May and mid-July than the same period last year – helping the category to grow 5.0% annually to £3.9 billion.

“Beer’s improved performance is particularly impressive considering the comparison is against a summer that included football’s second biggest international tournament, the European Championships,” notes Stares. “Even against that comparison, over half a million¹ households bought beer in the early summer of 2017 that didn’t in the equivalent period in 2016. Alongside new customers, sales revenues are up due to a combination of higher prices and shoppers trading up to more premium brands.”

Beer brands with particularly strong growth across the year included Corona and Coors Light (both up 25%), Budweiser (+18%) and Peroni (+15%). Stella Artois remains the biggest in the sector – accounting for 12.5% market share.