Lager left cider in the shade this summer as deep discounts drove strong sales of beer.
Volume sales of lager were up 2.4% in the 11 weeks to 16 August compared with a year ago [Nielsen], while cider fell 2.3%. This is in stark contrast to summer 2013, when cider volumes rocketed 16% year-on-year.
In value terms, the greatest slump was in pear cider, down 34%, while apple cider fell 7%. Sales of flavoured ciders continued to boom however, and rose 21%,
Industry observers say cider suffered as World Cup promotional activity drew consumers to lager.
“Cider performance has been impacted by the big World Cup deals on lager, in addition to a marginally worse summer than 2013 weather-wise,” said Nielsen analyst Rob Zielski.
As a result of promotions, the average price of lager was down 2% year on year during the summer, according to Nielsen data, and category value sales were virtually static despite the volume uplift. Average cider prices were also down fractionally, contributing to a 2.5% fall in category value.
World Cup deals also hit sales of flavoured lager, said Nielsen with consumers opting for mainstream lager on deal rather than newer beers. As a result, off-trade value sales of flavoured lagers fell 10% compared with last summer, despite retailers increasing the average number of flavoured lagers they carry from 2.7 a year ago to 4.9.
Ale has continued to perform well thanks to interest in premium and craft beers, with sales up 3.2% by value and 2.5% by volume year on year over the summer.