Category Snapshot: Beer


NATIONAL REPORT — The heavyweights of the beer category continue to dominate, but certain segments are seeing long-term challenges, according to new data and analysis provided to Convenience Store News from Nielsen.

Premium light made up the largest beer segment within the total convenience channel in full year 2014 at 45-percent share. However, the segment has declined in both case volume and case share year over year since 2012. While flavored malt was a distant No. 2 at 13-percent share, it gained in case volume and case share over the same time period.

Predictably, the beer category does best in the summer months, with June, July and August having the highest percentage of annual case volume based on a three-year average. The only exception is the micro beer segment, which sees its highest sales in September and October.

"For total beer, the South region was the largest in convenience in 2014 (57-percent share) and while it's growing year over year in case volume, it's losing share to all other regions," said Nielsen's Andrea Riberi, senior vice president, consumer insights.

In regard to competitive channels, beer case sales at food stores in 2014 were up 2 percent compared to a year ago, and up 5 percent compared to two years ago. Sales at food, drug and mass-merchandise stores combined were up 1 percent and 4 percent over the same respective time periods. Drugstore sales, however, were down 5 percent year over year and down 4 percent from two years ago.

In all competitive channels other than c-stores, light beer remains one of the largest segments but is down or flat compared to one year ago. The next two largest segments, ale/stout and coolers, are up in volume compared to last year and two years ago.

Nielsen is a leading global information and measurement company. 

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of Category Snapshot reports that will be published monthly by Convenience Store News in partnership with Nielsen.

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