Wine and spirit sales down as consumers feel the pinch

5 March 2012

The latest WSTA Market Report shows overall sales of wine and spirits continuing to fall in shops, pubs, restaurants and clubs, as consumers continue to rein in their spending.

  • Volume sales of wine in the off-trade were down 2% in the year to February 4th and shop sales of spirits were down 1%.
  • In the on-trade sales of wine were down 6% by volume for the year to December 24th and sales of spirits were down 2%. 
  • Volume sales of Champagne were down 6% for the year in the off trade and down 12% in the on-trade with Sparkling Wine a likely beneficiary (off-trade volume sales up 7%).

The WSTA Market Report draws on data and analysis from Nielsen, CGA Strategy and the Wilson Drinks Report.

While overall volumes were down for the year sales value across all alcohol categories was up 5%, driven substantially by VAT and excise duty increases.

Within individual categories it’s a mixed picture.

  • Nielsen data shows off-trade sales of wine at lower price points have continued to fall as consumers are drawn to other categories including cider (up 4% by volume for the year and 13% by value) and British Wine (up 51% by volume).*
  • Meanwhile sales of wine at prices over £5 have grown significantly in volume and value terms over the past year.
  • In the spirits category gin and vodka stand out as the best off trade performers over the year, with volume sales up 2% and 3% respectively.  In the on trade malt whisky has fared particularly well, with volumes up 31% over the year and value up 48%.

Commenting on the latest sales figures WSTA interim Chief Executive Gavin Partington said: 

“It’s clear that many consumers continue to feel the pinch yet the duty escalator on alcohol continues to push prices up and sadly the Budget later this month threatens more of the same.

“If Budget tax increases go through as scheduled, tax on wine and spirits will have increased by 45% and 40% respectively since 2008.  It’s a tax take that hurts consumers and undermines our industry’s efforts to support economic growth.”


Notes to Editors:

*British wine is not to be confused with English wine.  British wine is bottled in the UK and made using imported concentrated grape juice, whereas English wine derives exclusively from grapes grown in English vineyards.  The sales figures are not included in this report but are provided by Nielsen.

The WSTA Market Report is available to WSTA Members only.

The WSTA is the UK organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits.
We campaign to promote the industry’s interests with governments at home and abroad.
We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact Gavin Partington:
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7089 3876
Mob:  +44 (0) 7966 014058
Email: [email protected]">[email protected]

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