'Only a matter of time before shop alcohol sales overtake pubs'

By John Harrington, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage, British beer & pub association

Supermarkets: cheap beer on sale is increasing off-trade share
Supermarkets: cheap beer on sale is increasing off-trade share
The proportion of beer sales in the on-trade against the off-trade fell last year at the joint fastest rate seen across the past decade, and it’s “only a matter of time” before most sales come from shops.

That’s according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) new Statistical Handbook, which says the on-trade accounted for 50.9% of beer sales by volume last year, 2.3 percentage points lower than in 2009.

The year-on-year percentage fall between 2009/2010 was only matched in the past 10 years in 2007/2008, when it fell from 55.9% to 53.6%.

It follows a decade of steady decline in the on-trade’s proportion of beer sales — the on-trade accounted for 67.4% of sales in 2000.

Last year’s decline has been partly attributed to the impact of the football World Cup, when supermarkets increased their marketing activity around cheap bulk beer deals.

This can also be seen by the relatively steep proportional decline in on-trade sales of cider, another category heavily discounted in supermarkets during the tournament. The on-trade accounted for 37.3% of cider sales last year, down 2.5 percentage points, by far the largest decline since cider’s resurgence in the mid-2000s.

In contrast, the on-trade’s proportion of wine and spirit sales fell less sharply; for wine, the decline was 0.8 percentage points to 19%, and for spirits it was down 0.7% to 20.3%.

Nevertheless, a BBPA spokesman said it’s “only a matter of time” before the off-trade overtakes the on-trade.

Meanwhile, within the on-trade, beer and cider volumes declined as a proportion of sales against other categories.

UK consumption of alcohol in the on-trade fell to 2.8 litres per person per year, down 0.1l, the same decline experienced in the past three years.

The proportion of beer consumed fell 1.2 percentage points to 56.8%, with cider down 0.3 percentage points to 10.2%. In contrast, wine accounted for 18.3% (up 0.7 percentage points), spirits 13% (up 0.6 percentage points) and FABs 1.7% (up 0.2 percentage points).

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