Press Room

Minimum pricing to impact over half of alcohol sales

Wine and premium brands could be the big winners
Other implications include “near-extinction” of major price deals, rise of cross-border shopping and stockpiling

London, 14 November 2016. At least 50% of alcohol sold in Scotland doesn’t meet the impending minimum price legislation.

Spirits will be the most impacted as 69% of volume currently sold is below the 50p per unit threshold, according to measurement company Nielsen who analysed till sales (EPOS data) in nearly 1,200 stores in Scotland. Beer is the next most impacted (67% of volume is below the threshold) followed by cider (51%), while only 3.4% of wine sales would be impacted.

When looking at the top 50 selling products in each category, instead of total volume sales, 76% of the most popular spirits don’t meet minimum pricing compared to 74% in beer, 54% in cider and 12% in wine.

“Wine is, by far, the least impacted and so has the most to gain from minimum pricing,” says Marika Praticó, senior client manager at Nielsen. “Overall, wine will need to raise prices by the least amount, thus, it becomes more affordable relative to other alcohol.”

Blended scotch and vodka are the two categories impacted most by minimum pricing legislation. Blended scotch, overall, will require prices to rise 20% to meet the threshold, whilst vodka requires a 16.3% rise. 

Praticó notes that enforced price rises aren’t necessarily bad for the spirits industry; in fact it could result in increased revenue, as long as demand doesn’t fall beyond a certain “tipping point.” She explains, “This break-even figure is 12.5%, as long as any potential decline in demand doesn’t exceed this the industry will benefit thanks to the higher price point. Should demand fall by more than 12.5%, that’s when their revenues will decline.”

Implications

Nielsen’s analysis also raised four potential implications of minimum pricing legislation on retail behaviour.

As with wine, premium brands, particularly in spirits, are likely to benefit as the price differential between them and cheaper brands diminishes so, “it’s a good time for people to “trade-up” to the more expensive brands, which is likely to have a negative impact on supermarkets’ own-label offerings,” says Praticó.

She also expects a “near extinction” of major price-saving deals offered by retailers in spirits, beer and cider, as the likes of two-for-one deals would mean the effective price paid for each unit of alcohol would fall below the threshold.

In terms of shopper behaviour, there could well be an increase in cross-border alcohol shopping among the Scottish to England and Ireland, where prices would be cheaper, “mirroring what many Britons already do with the annual Calais run.”

Another implication Praticó notes is that there’ll also be the “inevitable stockpiling” of alcohol before the legislation comes into force which could well mean “a bumper Christmas for alcohol retailers.”

Notes

About Nielsen Scantrack

The Nielsen scanning service measures total store sales every week by SKU for 20,000 shops across all food and drink trade channels in GB. This uses the actual EPOS data from retailers, thus, Scantrack is the most robust and reliable measure of FMCG sales and is integrated with Homescan for the key indicators of retailer performance. The total market measured is £145bn per annum. ‘Grocery Multiples’ is a defined sub-set of the major supermarkets that also includes all food sales from Marks and Spencer (but excludes Aldi and Lidl). The Grocery Multiples account for over £120bn of all GB food, drink and supermarket general merchandise sales.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services for all devices on which content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen also provides its clients with analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. www.nielsen.com.

More information
Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
Tel: 020 3544 3570
Mob: 0780 313 1144
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