October 23, 2019

Marston’s identifies a £103m un-tapped opportunity for UK retailers

As a growing number of consumers turn their backs on traditional nights out, in favour of evenings at home, Marston’s PLC has unveiled its latest Off Trade Beer Report to help retailers grow their beer sales in the year ahead. Providing insight into the beer drinker, industry trends and category performance, the report offers practical advice on attracting more shoppers, more frequently, whilst identifying a £103m un-tapped opportunity for UK retailers.

Understanding how drinkers shop has been highlighted as the key to achieving success for retailers, keeping them at the heart of all ranging, merchandising and promotional decisions. For both ale and lager drinkers, beer is an important part of their regular weekly shop, spending £17.04 and £15.35 per week respectively. Ale drinkers are by far the most experimental shoppers (67% of ale drinkers) and more likely to buy across multiple sub-categories, making them an important driver for overall sales. The report recommends covering as many brands in single bottles as possible to enable this experimentation. Multibuys extend this opportunity for growth, with 57% of ale drinkers stating they would buy less if the option was removed, compared with 46% of lager drinkers.

Convenience presents a big opportunity for retailers, with consumers leading busier lifestyles and becoming increasingly time poor. 42% of total beer spend comes from the convenience channel, despite only having a 22% share of the total grocery spend; this reflects the variety of convenience shopper occasions that beer caters for. With 61% of drinkers now choosing to drink ale straight from the fridge – up from 48% in 2015 – correct positioning of this category in the chiller is key. While lager still accounts for two thirds of all sales value in convenience stores, bottled ale has the biggest under-trade of any beer category, with a £103M sales opportunity.

As consumers become increasingly concerned about health and wellbeing, the low/no alcohol category has seen growth of 60% within the Off Trade since 2017.  Whilst the trend towards moderation is being led by 18-24 year olds, it is gaining traction with the mass market and more affluent consumers. The report reveals that drinkers across both ale and lager see lower ABV beers as being better for them and a third find them more refreshing. Including no alcohol and lower ABV drinks within a retailer’s range will cater for those looking for a lighter option.

Jim Hopkins, Off Trade Category Manager at Marston’s, commented: “Our report highlights how valuable ale drinkers are for retailers, with a huge opportunity across craft and premium canned ale in particular. As consumers continue to favour drinking at home, understanding the major trends in shopper behaviour is key to driving success for retailers. Our report details the areas for growth within the sector, along with insight into consumer preferences to help retailers drive beer sales.”

The annual Beer Report can be found at: https://www.marstons.co.uk/offtradereport