2021 close to reaching 2019 sales levels in the US On Premise

CGA’s latest OPM data reveals how the market has recovered in 2021 compared to the levels reached in 2019.

It’s not news that 2020 was a volatile and challenging year for the On Premise, and with many openings and closings, sales suffered in comparison to previous years. However 2021 has told a different story for the On Premise, still with its challenges, but on a steady road to recovery. Using our On Premise Measurement service (OPM) CGA have analysed how 2020 differed to 2019 and how 2021 has recovered compared to the levels of 2019, especially considering the rise of the Delta variant in recent months.


Looking at January 2020 pre-COVID-19 volume sales, across the mega categories it looked like 2020 was going to be a higher performing year for the On Premise versus the previous year, with beer up 1% vs January 2019, wine flat and spirits up 2%.


By April of 2020, at the height of restrictions and lockdown, the On Premise was at its lowest point. Sales in the On Premise were almost non-existent in April; beer sales were just 6% of those in 2019, Wine sales were 12% and Spirits were 2% of that of the previous year. This was a month like never before in the On Premise.


A year on tells a completely different story. Comparing April 2021 vs 2019 it is clear that recovery had returned to the On Premise. This is evident through the proportion of sales; beer sales were 84% of 2019, wine sales were 84% of 2019 and spirits sales were 82% of 2019. This is in line with the level of closures in the market, as a number of outlets unfortunately had shut, so the universe for potential sales had decreased.


Looking forward to July 2021 stability was very much present compared to July 2019; beer sales were equivalent to 91% of July 2019 sales, wine was 88% and spirits 91%. This paints a positive picture for the future of the On Premise as consumers have returned and an increase in a higher percentage of sales of 2019 vs previous months would indicate they will continue to do so.


While the rise in the Delta variant has raised concern for the next few months, the data indicates that the On Premise has evolved in comparison to last year. As tracked in our consumer Impact Study every four weeks, most consumers feel comfortable in the measures bars and restaurants are taking to ensure a safe experience. Operators are also more experienced and prepared in comparison to last year when the channel was turned upside down. The focus is on leaning in and understanding on a state by state level, who’s visiting where and drinking what, to ensure that your strategy is local enough to focus on the future while adapting to changing conditions.


Patrick Bannon, CGA Client Director, Americas, said: “Across all three categories it is apparent that the market is getting back to what it was. While there have been some fluctuations it appears that consumers have returned to the On Premise, which is consistent with our research. The next couple of months will be hugely important in understanding what is happening at a state level, particularly with some states implementing changes. As strategies need to be tailored to different market conditions, we at CGA will look to support our suppliers navigating these conditions with our four weekly impact reports as well as our suite of measurement services.”


The COVID-19 On Premise Impact Report is a consumer research report tracking and reflecting on how consumers currently feel about returning to the On Premise, what other states can expect as they reopen fully and how the On Premise can position its offering to encourage more visits. Click here to view the latest On Premise Impact Reports.


CGA’s OPM service is the only fully projected, extensively validated, measure of beverage alcohol performance in the American On Premise. Used to track share and trends by all of the leading beverage suppliers, OPM is the most robust view of sales performance for bars and restaurants ever produced in the US. For more information and support understanding trends at category, segment and brand level within the On Premise, contact Matthew Crompton at Matthew.Crompton@cgastrategy.com

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