Nielsen Study Finds Alcohol Purchases Recession Proof

NEW YORK -- The Nielsen Co., parent company to CSNews Online, released a new report underscoring the concept that alcohol purchases at grocery, liquor, convenience, warehouse clubs and other stores are not significantly impacted by the declining economy.

Approximately half of the 3,500 consumers surveyed said the current state of the economy does not impact the amount they are spending for beer, wine or spirits. The report noted that less than 20 percent of those polled indicated a significant impact, and more than 80 percent said they are spending the same amount or more on beer, wine and spirits compared to a year ago.

"Although consumers have less money to spend due to rising gas prices and other economic pressures, our research shows the economic slowdown is having only a modest impact on alcoholic beverage purchases," Danny Brager, vice president, client service, beverage alcohol, for The Nielsen Co., said in a released statement. "Alcoholic beverages are withstanding the economic slowdown very well, compared to other categories that might be considered indulgent or non-necessities. To many consumers, alcoholic beverages are an affordable luxury."

Respondents polled said they are limiting nights out to restaurants, bars and night clubs, a trend that is benefiting grocery, mass merchandise, convenience and liquor stores.

According to the study, grocery stores lead in beer and wine sales with 75 percent of respondents saying they have purchased beer and 62 percent bought wine from a traditional grocer in the last six months. Convenience stores ranked third for beer purchases with 26 percent. The two factors contributing to sales, said respondents, are convenient locations and better prices or promotions.

"While value and convenience clearly matter to consumers when deciding where to buy, our research also indicates that consumers choose where to buy based on a variety of factors, ranging from the occasion to what type of product they are looking for to the store's services and ambience," Brager said in a released statement.