Convenience retailers have a “huge opportunity” to grasp the spirits category as shoppers increase their spending on premium brands, according to the First Drinks annual report.

The spirits category in convenience is now worth £704m, up 2% year-on-year, with much of the growth coming from premium brands. However, only 1.2% of shoppers purchase spirits in a convenience store, meaning retailers have n opportunity to gain a valuable new customer. Adding spirits to a basket grows the average spend from £5.31 to £15.26.

The report, the first of its kind, concludes that special occasions such as bank holidays and sporting events are key growth drivers. In addition, beer wine and spirits (BWS) gifting, valued at £572m, is an area which needs to be exploited more by the off-trade. 

Tom Fender, sales and marketing director Him, said: “The spirits category is a key opportunity in convenience where there has been steady growth over the last few years. These shoppers are highly valuable as they visit more often, buy more items and spend around three times more than the average shopper.”