Raised Spirits lead On Premise growth in France

New research from CGA by NielsenIQ reveals a strong post-COVID-19 recovery for many drinks categories in France’s bars and restaurants and highlights key opportunities for suppliers to grow sales further in the months ahead.

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All beverage categories have experienced growth in sales volumes over the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, resulting in shifts in sales across categories. Understanding how these preferences are changing is key when positioning drinks brands in the On Premise.


The data, drawn from CGA’s market-leading On Premise Measurement service (OPM), shows a particularly strong first half of 2022 for spirits. Volumes over the six months were 176% higher than in the first half of 2021, when the On Premise was under severe trading restrictions, with liqueurs and white spirits, like vodka and gin, outpacing other spirits including whiskey and rum.


Soft drinks and Water have also recorded year-on-year volume growth of 98% in the first half of 2022 vs 2021, however challenges remain as these categories struggle to regain pre-pandemic levels, as well as Beer. Juices and smoothies both significantly increased their share of the category’s total sales – becoming the top two growing segments in volume share just behind Energy drinks. There was stronger growth for sparkling water (106%) than for still (89%).


In Spirits, Discotheques (+1.2%) have been the leading channel in terms of market share growth in the comparable period vs 2020, highlighting the channel is recovering well and higher-tempo occasions are benefiting following this period of restrictions. Vodka in particular is thriving within the channel (+2.3%), as well as liqueurs (+0.7%). Gin on the other hand is primarily gaining market share in Bar de Jour (+3.4%), while losing share across Bar de Nuit (-3.9%), suggesting gin’s success across earlier dayparts. Regionally, Spirits have gained share within Paris (+1.7%), while the Southeast and Southwest have lost share (-1.0% and –0.7% respectively) in H1 2022 vs H1 2020.


Leisure continues to be a successful channel for Soft drinks with a gain in market share (0.8%) vs 2020. Soft drinks however under-performed in Bar de Jour; one of the top three performing channels for this category.


In the Beer category, Restaurants (+1.7%), followed by Leisure channels (0.9%) are experiencing the most market share growth vs 2020, while Bar de Jour (-2.9%) having lost market share. This suggests restaurants are recovering faster than other daytime occasions. Suppliers who can adapt activations and On Premise strategies can leverage opportunities to tap into target consumers and help drive sales in the channels most effective for their brands.


The figures are among a wide range of insights from CGA’s OPM service into first-half sales. The On Premise is ever-changing and existing knowledge and supplier strategies must be adapted to reflect the shifts in consumers’ drinks preferences to develop a winning strategy focusing on growth opportunities and optimising investment.


Julie Besnard, Client Solutions Director at CGA by NielsenIQ, said: “These figures show just how well France’s On Premise has recovered in the first half of 2022. Consumers have missed their visits to bars and restaurants, but after two years of disruption they are now settling into new habits—so it is crucial that suppliers and operators understand the changes. The On Premise is central to brand-building and success here is a powerful driver of sales in other channels, so smart investment in data-driven strategies will help businesses stay ahead of the game right across the market.”


CGA’s On Premise Measurement (OPM) service provides best-in-class data and expert analysis of sales trends and opportunities across all beverage categories in France’s On Premise. It helps businesses to track sales by channel and location, optimise the positioning of brands, win share and encourage trial, trade-up and loyalty. The OPM service is enhanced by in-depth consumer research to provide an unrivalled picture of the On Premise. To learn more about CGA’s capabilities, contact Julie Besnard at julie.besnard@cgastrategy.com.


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