Total sales of alcohol in away-from-home venues are expected to decline 4.9% in 2009 and 2.5% in 2010, according to a forecast from food service consulting firm Technomic, which said its gloomy forecast for alcohol sales is based upon? continued weakness in restaurant traffic and increasing consumer frugality.
Fine Dining Hardest-Hit Segment
While? overall on-premise alcohol sales are expected to decline 2.5% in 2010, the forecast varies by segment, with some segments predicting higher decline rates. Fine dining leads the way with predicted 10.4% decline, followed by casual dining at 6.8% and lodging at 6.1%.
Segments with lower-than-average predicted rates of decline include concessions at 2% and bars/nightclubs at 0.6%, writes Retailer Daily.
Wine Hardest Hit Beverage
By type of alcohol, on-premise consumption of wine is expected to decline 6.7%, spirits 2.1% and beer 1.8%. Technomics predicts on-premise alcohol sales will begin to climb again in 2011.
Recent Nielsen research supported these findings, indicating that alcohol purchases in bars and restaurants were being hurt by the economic downturn, while retail sales of alcohol in stores appeared to be more recession proof and were not being affected as much by the economic crisis.
For the 52 weeks ended September 5, 2009, Nielsen that retail sales of alcoholic beverages rose 2% compared with the same period a year earlier. In August 2009, the total number of retail locations selling alcoholic beverages grew by 2,392 stores in August 2009 compared to the year prior. Drug (684 locations), convenience stores (637) and mass merchandisers (432) led the way.
Less Fine Dining, Cheaper Brands at Home
Nielsen research also revealed that 68% of consumers said they were doing less fine dining and 59% said they were going to bars less often in April 2009. In August 2009, there were 944 fewer bars and clubs and 769 fewer dining choices in the US than in the year prior.
Additionally, a May 2009 Nielsen Homescan survey revealed consumers are going out to drink less often and spending less on what they drink at home. Survey results indicated that 37% of consumers are going out to bars and clubs less often, and 50% of consumers are actively seeking the best deals when buying alcoholic beverages. Popular strategies include comparing shelf prices, waiting for a sale and taking advantage of other special offers.
The survey also revealed 24% of wine drinkers are ordering less-expensive brands, while 33% of beer and spirits drinkers are ordering fewer drinks. In addition, the study shows that once the recession does end, consumers will not necessarily return to their previous alcohol consumption habits. Only 24% of wine drinkers said they will spend more on alcohol when the economy recovers, while 21% of spirits drinkers plan to spend more and 18% of beer drinkers intend to spend more.
An earlier survey from Harris Interactive found that three in 10 (29%) US adults report that they drink alcohol, including beer or wine, at least once a week, with 6% saying they drink daily, and men and Easterners more likely to drink than others.