With shoppers predisposed to spend more during holiday times, convenience stores should make the most of their alcohol range and offer during bank holidays, advises Diageo.

Easter is the second most important event in the year for sales uplift1, as shoppers look to stock up, ahead of a time that typically sees celebrations over the long bank holiday weekend. Despite celebrations last year being markedly different in light of lockdown restrictions, off-trade alcohol sales still soared by 29% during Easter 20202 as shoppers looked to make the most of the warm weather.

Other bank holiday weekends are also important occasions for consumers. With the early May bank holiday coming up, now is a great time for retailers to review their range and ensure they are well prepared to unlock holiday sales.

As we continue to live with the impact of Covid-19 and consumers adapt to the return of the on-trade, it’s still important for retailers to help consumers create memorable experiences at home. Take-home alcohol is experiencing growth of +28% year-on-year (YOY)3 and people are looking to replicate experiences they would normally enjoy in the on-trade.

Bank holiday weekends are a key example of this, with 39% of spirits and beer shoppers willing to spend more over Easter4. Across all categories, ensuring good visibility of well-known brands in-store is vital, particularly as shopping trips have become more planned.

Stock key categories

People’s preferences change with the seasons and the onset of the warmer weather from April usually sees people opt for white spirits, with categories like vodka and gin proving popular. These can be easily mixed in serves such as G&Ts, spritz and cocktails such as the espresso martini.

Gin is a major player and responsible for driving the biggest growth in spirits. Over the past year, flavoured variants made up 45.8% total value share MAT5 – this means offering the right choice through range is vital to drive sales and interest.

Gordon’s, the UK’s favourite gin brand6, is an essential addition for any gin offering. Gordon’s SKU’s currently occupy the top eight spots in the impulse channel7 and the innovation in the range means that customers can opt for simple but effective twists on classic serves.

Tapping into the continuing consumer demand for convenience, pre-mix cocktail RTDs such as the Gordon’s Pink Martini (5% ABV) and Smirnoff Passion Fruit Martini (5% ABV) are a perfect choice for consumers who are looking for drinks that they can recreate at home without sacrificing on quality. Later this year, Diageo is also looking forward to launching Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla (6% ABV) in a can.

Within the off-trade, RTDs are growing slightly ahead of the current off-trade BWS market at 22.5%8 and as more RTD variants continue to launch, the category is set to remain a key driver of sales this year.

Beer is the number one category within total beers, wines and spirits in the UK9. Thanks to its popularity, versatility and the sheer breadth of formats it offers, it’s well-placed to generate bank holiday sales, particularly with the onset of the warmer weather.

As consumers continue to spend more time at home and visit stores less frequently, we have seen a growing preference for larger pack sizes and a willingness to spend more when shopping in the off-trade. Last summer, data found that bigger pack sizes were driving beer growth, with value sales of mid-size packs, 8-12, up 65.5%10 in the 20 weeks to August.

To help customers recreate the Guinness ‘on tap’ experience from the comfort of their own homes, retailers can stock the Guinness Draught in Can 4-pack and 10-pack.

Consider the indulgence factor

When preparing for bank holidays, the ‘indulgence’ moment is key. For many, such occasions are seen as a chance to treat yourself by indulging in a variety of sweet treats and drinks, so retailers should look to act on this.

Growing its share of cream liqueurs last Easter by 2%11, Baileys is a perfect choice for dessert-lovers everywhere as it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as on its own with ice or poured over ice cream. With a series of distinctive variants, such as Baileys Original, Baileys Chocolat Luxe and Baileys Scrumptious Salted Caramel in its portfolio, the brand is a must for any bank holiday range.

Top tips to make your bank holiday alcohol range a success

Visibility: Make sure to add key alcoholic options to displays in order to aid in-store navigation while also keeping well-known brands at eye-level positions

POS: Use POS to drive awareness of your range by disrupting shoppers in-store, having clear signage on shelf, educating on products, and providing serving suggestions

Chilled: Keep pre-mix cocktail RTDs and beers refrigerated and chilled at all times: warm or room temperature products could result in lost sales

For more advice on your bank holiday selection and ranging, click here.



1 Nielsen, 4 weeks to 07.04.2018 vs 4 weeks to 27.04.2019
2 Nielsen, data for the week ending 11.04.20
3 Kantar Worldpanel FMCG Panel, data to 04.10.20
4 Nielsen, 4 weeks to 07.04.2018 vs 4 weeks to 27.04.2019
5 Nielsen Scantrack, data w/e 3.10.20
6 Nielsen/CGA, RSV MAT to Oct 20; Best Selling Gin refers to Sales Value. Gordon’s has sold £821m sales value in MAT, vs its next biggest competitor at £188m sales value.
7 Nielsen Scantrack, data w/e 3.10.20
8 Nielsen Scantrack, 52 w/e 26.12.20
9 Nielsen, 52 w/e 08.08.20
10 Nielsen, 52 w/e 08.08.20
11 Nielsen Scantrack, Easter 11.04.20 vs 20.04.19