According to Nielsen, U.S. beverage alcohol off-premise retail sales have seen massive growth as consumer stock up during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the week ending March 14, 2020, over the same period in 2019, wine was up 27.6%, spirits were up 26.4%, and beer/flavored malt beverages/cider were up 14%.
For comparison, in the 13-week period ending Jan. 25, 2020, wine was up just 0.6%, according to Nielsen. For the same period, spirits sales were up 3.8%, and the beer/flavored malt beverage/cider category was up by 5%.
Sales indicated that consumers were stocking up, with larger packs outpacing the growth of smaller ones during the week.
For the week ending March 14, 2020, three-liter boxed wines were up by 53% over a year ago, and canned wines were up by 95%. The 24-pack beer category was up 24%, 30-packs sales grew 21%, and 36-packs were up 40%.
The growth rates for beer sales were especially strong in Ohio (+38%), Michigan (+36%) and Pennsylvania (+33%), according to Nielsen.
Yet, the overall growth of alcohol sales still falls behind rates for total consumer goods. According to Nielsen, for the week ending March 14, 2020, total consumer goods grew by 40% in all Nielsen U.S. outlet channels.