UK: RTDs fail to shake-off price rises as off-trade volumes fall

By | 20 June 2013

RTDs are facing off-trade pressure

RTDs are facing off-trade pressure

RTD sales and volumes in the UK off-trade have dropped in the past quarter as prices continue to rise, according to latest Nielsen figures.

The category's off-trade sales fell by 9% in the 12 weeks to 25 May, while volumes slid by 14%, according to the figures, released by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) today (June 20). In the same period, the average unit price rose 6%, mirroring a 5% price jump in the past 12 months.

RTDs make up just 1.3% of UK off-trade volumes, but the drop contributed to an overall 2% fall in volumes and 3% decrease in all off-trade alcohol sales over the 12-week period.

Beer volumes dropped by 5% and sales by 3% over the period.

Wine and spirits volumes stayed mainly flat with sales increasing 3% and 4% respectively in the 12 weeks. 

In the on-trade, blended whisk(e)y sales fell by 9% as malt whisk(e)y posted a 22% sales jump over the 12 weeks. Gin sales also increased by 16%.

Meanwhile, sparkling wine continued to grow sales, up 10% for the year and 7% for the past 12 weeks. In a WSTA report in March, sparkling wine sales rose by 11% in the 12 months to the beginning of February to GBP405m (US$606.5m).

The WSTA blamed the UK duty escalator for the overall sales falls, and said the hike has helped increase alcohol prices by 2% in the off-trade and 4% in the on-trade for the year.

“While there are a small number of categories in the wine and spirit sector with modest volume growth, the overwhelming picture is one of decreased sales and increased duty rates, with consumers inevitably having to foot the bill,” WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said.

Beale said the introduction of the alcohol duty escalator in 2008 has increased duty on wine by 50% and on spirits by 44%.

Expert analysis

Gin & Genever in United Kingdom to 2016: Databook

Canadean’s, "Gin & Genever in United Kingdom to 2016: Databook" contains detailed historic and forecast Gin & Genever consumption analysis, segmented at a category level. It provides year on year growth figures for the different types of Gin & Genever available in United Kingdom, as well as volume data based on price segments and alcoholic strength. This report reviews the latest industry trends both for overall products as well as leading market players, which makes it an essential tool for companies active across the United Kingdom alcoholic drinks value chain and for new players considering entering the market.

Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

Companies: WSTA

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