Dry January Non-Alcoholic Record Highlights Future Potential
Man reading the description of multi-pack product in a store

Dry January Non-Alcoholic Record Highlights Future Potential

There was significant media coverage in the Netherlands throughout December and January about the impact of Dry January, and many supermarkets were eager to jump on the bandwagon to help spark interest among consumers. So did retailers and consumers change their behavior?

With the sales results now in from January, it’s clear that the opportunities in the non-alcoholic beverage space span well beyond the first 30 days of the year, and that’s certainly a positive way to start off 2020.

This January’s volume share skyrocketed from last year, which corresponds with the health and wellness trends we’re seeing globally. It also corresponds with similar sober curious trends we’re seeing in the U.S. But this isn’t the first year we’ve seen consumers go dry. In fact, it’s a trend we’ve been monitoring since 2017, and it’s one we expect to continue gaining momentum going forward, and not just after the year-end holidays.

Although non-alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic wine performed at different levels, both categories gained significant share increases during Dry January 2020. This increase is underlined by comparing the shares during Dry January with the shares outside Dry January (week 6 through week 48).

Signaling potential beyond January, this year was the first year that the share of non-alcoholic beer exceeded the share outside Dry January (7.7% vs. 6.6%). In line with this extraordinary result, the volume share of non-alcoholic wine quadrupled that of the preceding year (2.0% vs. 0.5%). If this trend continues, retailers will have to look at their shelf plans to adapt to the potential at other times throughout the year.

The rise in non-alcoholic beverage consumption isn’t simply the result of media and word-of-mouth around events like Dry January. Savvy manufacturers and retailers are capitalizing on the media around sober drinking by supporting the cause through promotions and marketing efforts. Given consumer appetites during Dry January, brands and retailers could consider extending their efforts throughout the year, given the response to promotions in January alone.

This year’s January saw a significant rise in promotions: 66% more SKUs in beer were on promotion than in 2019, and 38% more wine SKUs were on deal. By reducing the cost to try non-alcoholic options, brands and retailers increased the likelihood that sober curious consumers would engage with a new product, brand or non-alcoholic beverage option.

Not enough can be said about the influence of promotions. In fact, promotions drove the majority of the increase this January. With the steep increase of promoted non-alcoholic items, the contribution to the share growth is roughly 1:2, meaning promotional volume share contribution was almost double that of non-promotional volume share.

All things considered, it shows that both media attention and support within the supermarkets go hand in hand and have led to record shares for non-alcoholic beer and wine. Will these high levels remain? Most likely not for now, but they do show that consumers are seemingly integrating non-alcoholic beer and wine in their overall consumption pattern. While doing so the non-alcoholic segment might have become one of the biggest opportunities for growth in 2020 and beyond.