Retailers to Promote Adult Beverages to Social Distancing Consumers

BY Rachel Cagle
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Bars and restaurants are beginning to open back up, but Americans are continuing to be skeptical about going back to business-​as-​usual without a COVID-​19 vaccine, especially for adult beverages.

Although many Americans may avoid eating and drinking out for a while yet, Nielsen reports that in-​store and online adult beverage sales have been booming within the last few months.

"'Consumers are shifting the dollars they would have spent on alcohol in a restaurant, bar, or tasting room to alcoholic beverages they can buy at a lower mark-​up from retailers, online merchants and even directly from the supplier in the instances where it is legalized to do so,' says Danny Brager, SVP of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol practice.”

Nielsen says that there are, "three key ways in which the 'COVID-​19 effect' on alcohol has manifested in America."

Online Shopping

Since the shelter-​in-​place orders began in March through April 18, online adult beverage sales have increased 234%. "In fact," says Nielsen, "alcohol is the fastest growing e‑commerce department among consumer packaged goods (CPG), and weekly growth has continued."

Larger Sizes

Americans are attempting to limit their expose to others and, therefore, have been making fewer trips to stores. So, while they're out shopping, Americans are opting for larger pack sizes of adult beverages, particularly wine and spirits, to hold them over until their next shopping trip. "Comparing the year ended Feb. 29 to the seven-​week COVID-​19 impacted period ended April 18, sales growth in percentage points was nearly 10X higher for boxed wine and 23X higher for 1.75-litre spirits," says Nielsen. "The beer category has also seen consumers trading up to larger pack sizes, with double-​digit sales growth among 30-​packs (+21%) and 24-​packs (+20%) in the week ended April 18."


While they're stuck at home and increasing their intake of comfort foods, Americans are becoming less inclined to experiment with different adult beverages. Instead, 69% of Americans are only purchasing the alcohol types/​brands they already know and enjoy.

Even before the COVID-​19 outbreak, 66.4% of Cocktail Drinkers were watching at least three hours of TV every single day, according to AudienceSCAN. Now, they're likely watching even more, since 43.5% say that their favorite type of programming is the local evening news and there are a lot of COVID-​19 updates being broadcasted.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on supermarkets/​grocery stores and wine shops & liquor stores, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.