Lockdown treats create €2.2 billion spending boom in Europe, IRI reveals

Bracknell, UK, 26th November 2020 – IRI, a global leader in big data for consumer, retail and media companies, reveals today that consumers across Europe spent €2.2 billion more on food and drink treats during the first lockdown period, an increase of 12% over the same period last year. Treat sectors covered include alcohol, salty snacks, sweets and chocolate across seven European countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands).

The most significant increases were in Spain and the UK, each consuming a fifth more treats overall in lockdown, +21% and +19% respectively. This was followed by the Netherlands at +12%, Greece at +10% and Germany at +6%. In contrast, France and Italy increased only very slightly overall, but had large increases in specific sectors.

Anne Lefranc, Vice President of Marketing, Europe and South Africa at IRI, comments: “As people’s homes became their world during the lockdown, they found new ways to cope and we saw people recreating their social occasions online or creating new traditions with their family. Understanding these trends shows us the opportunities that are open to brands and retailers during further periods of lockdown this winter as people move indoors and are perhaps even more tempted to treat themselves during this period of uncertainty.”
While treat purchases increased as a whole, there were winners and losers across the sectors and countries. Key findings include:

  • A boom in wine, but not in France. Sales of wine rose by between 4 to 17% points in all countries compared to before lockdown, except in Greece, where growth slowed down during this period but remains at 13%, and in France where total wines decreased by nearly a third (31%). In France, champagne was most impacted (-51%) mainly due to many celebrations being cancelled and none of the usual promotional activities that accompany them. Beer was the only alcohol category in growth in France during this period (+12% value sales). Spain, the Netherlands and the UK were the countries with the highest sales growth during lockdown.
  • The Zoom aperitivo occasion was born. Across all countries there was an increase in both certain spirits and salty snacks, driven in part by the ‘aperitivo occasion’ as people came together online and tried to recreate their evenings out in a virtual way. While salty snacks grew in all countries, it was highest in Spain (+28%), Greece (+27%) and Germany (+16%). The biggest market for this though remains the UK, up 3.5% to €1.2 billion. Within the spirits category, rum was the winner in Greece and France; gin in Italy and Germany; tequila in Spain and premixes in the UK. Since the first lockdown, consumption of salty snacks and these spirits remains high.
  • Sweets and candies fell out of favour. Confectionery fell in almost all countries during the lockdown and has not recovered, with candy sales in all countries still down or flat versus a year ago. The only country where sales grew was Spain (+2%), which was driven by children’s categories, for example gummy candies, which were up by 37.8% to €30 million, as people found their own way to deal with the competing pressures of school closures and home working. The consumption of adult candies, like chewing gum, is largely related to working in offices and so has been hit hard everywhere. The Netherlands has seen the same impact on mint throat sweets, which were growing until the COVID-19 pandemic, but since the lockdown have fallen by 9%.
  • Family film night during lockdown. Family film night became the new going out with families gathering together and eating popcorn on the sofa. In Italy, popcorn grew by over half (+53%) and by 19% in Germany during the lockdown, returning to normal purchase levels once lockdown ended.
  • Chocolate bars soared. While chocolate for seasonal celebrations during the lockdown suffered – particularly Easter – overall it fared well, driven by the purchase of bar chocolate. This grew the most in France (+40%), Spain (+39%), Italy (+33%) and Greece (+28%), driven to a large degree by home baking, which became both a distraction and a treat for many during the lockdown period. Growth remains high since the easing of the lockdown.

Notes for Editors:
Data was measured and analysed by IRI during the lockdown period, which varied slightly in timing and longevity from country to country. For each country it was compared with the identical period during 2019.

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organizations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalized consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalization revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth. For more information, visit www.iriworldwide.com

IRI Contact
Eureka Communications
Miquet Humphryes
+44 7872 010858

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