Forecast 2019: The Prognosis for Beer
NATIONAL REPORT — Convenience store retailers that are permitted to sell beer and malt beverages are looking forward to a fairly positive 2019, although they are generally split on whether sales will change, according to the results of the 2019 Convenience Store News Forecast Study.
More operators expect their average beer dollar sales per store to stay the same rather than increase, at 47 percent compared to 41.2 percent, respectively. A slight majority expects their beer unit volume per store to stay the same instead of rise, at 52.9 percent vs. 35.3 percent, respectively.
Although few retailers (11.8 percent) think their sales in the beer category will decline in 2019, this is still a drop in positivity from 2018, when 57.1 percent of retailers expected their beer dollar sales to go up and 52.6 percent expected their unit volume to increase.
Despite the flagging optimism, the expected net change for the beer category is increases of 2.4 percent for dollar sales and 2.1 percent for unit volume.
While the impressive growth of craft beer and microbreweries has slowed as the segment becomes more and more mainstream, retailers still point to the new varieties they offer as keeping sales steady, on account of consumer demand for new brews.
Improved consumer confidence and more single sales are also among the factors that some retailers believe will increase both dollar sales and unit volume in 2019, while beer prices and the drinking habits of millennials could contribute to a decline.
The 17th annual CSNews Forecast Study includes a Retailer Forecast and Supplier Forecast, both based on the results of a survey fielded in November 2018. Participants were asked to predict 2019 sales per store for a variety of product categories, as well as to share their opinions on overall business, economic and consumer trends. The Forecast Study also provides dollar and unit volume projections in key c-store product categories.