Sales of cider through independent retailers increased at a higher rate than beer during the World Cup event, according to data from a major buying group.

Year-on-year sales of cider showed significant growth throughout England's progression in the tournament, up 66% in the week prior to the World Cup, and grew at a similar rate in the following two weeks, according to Landmark Wholesale, which analysed sales out from its membership to independent retailers.

When England dropped out of the competition, cider sales dropped to just a 1% increase on last year, in line with the market.

Steve Parfett, Landmark chairman and MD of Parfetts Cash & Carry, said: "On the cider category, we can definitely see the swing towards premium cider. The launch of Magners has massively contributed to this and is now our biggest selling alcohol line."

Landmark's data showed that, while standard cider still accounts for the largest part of the market, sales declined by an average of 24% during the World Cup, whereas premium had the biggest growth. Premium cider usually represents 17% of the category in value but this rose to 28% during the tournament.

Premium beer also saw an increase, with sales up 21% during the tournament, compared with 9% for standard beer. In the last week, when England was out, the standard category of beers saw a sales drop of 43%, according to Landmark.

TV viewing figures showed England's opening game recorded the lowest number of viewers at 11.3 million, compared with subsequent games, where figures rose steadily to a peak of 17.9 million.

Landmark's data indicated stock adjustments had to be made because predictions didn't match actual at-home viewing trends. "Many retailers bought in bulk at the early stages," said Parfett. "Sales tapered off as England exited earlier than hoped, which meant they had surplus stock to move from stores."