Dry January brings opportunities for soft drinks and no and low

After a bumper Christmas, pubs and bars face a squeeze on alcoholic drinks sales in ‘Dry January’—but there are good opportunities to grow interest in soft drinks and no and low alcohol alternatives.

CGA by NIQ’s previous Christmas Reports show around one in five (21%) consumers takes part in Dry January, with another 11% already abstaining from alcohol. While some of these people will not be drinking out at all in January, others will be seeking new options at the bar, which opens up potential for suppliers of soft drinks and no and low brands.  


CGA’s market measurement service shows soft drinks took a 7.1% share of all drinks sales in January 2023—notably higher than their share of 6.3% in November, and above the average of 6.9% over the rest of the year. Although soft drinks’ RoS by value in January was 15.5% down on the average for the rest of the year, this is a smaller drop than for other alcoholic drinks (18.0%) and a sign of people switching to the category for the first few weeks of the year.  


The no and low alcohol category remains a small part of the market, accounting for a 0.3% share of all drinks sales last January. However, CGA’s On Premise Measurement Service shows that the total no and low alcohol sales has experienced a significant increase of +37% compared to the same period last year, based on a value sales perspective. 


Matthew Meek, CGA by NIQ’s senior client manager, said: “Abstinence can make January a challenging month for pubs and bars, but soft drinks and no and low brands are a valuable source of cash. This is a great time for suppliers to encourage trial and trade-up, and successful strategies now can also pay off later in the year, as soft drinks and no and low sales tend to peak in the summer months. Working out exactly what consumers want in Dry January can help drinks brands and operators alike to get a head start on the year.” 


There is more exclusive analysis of the no and low alcohol category in CGA by NIQ’s Mixed Drinks Report. It uses in-depth consumer research to provide an expert overview of the market, helping businesses understand consumers’ preferences and expectations in the On Premise. To learn more, click here and email Matthew Meek at matthew.meek@nielseniq.com 

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