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Is “Dry January” a damp squib?
In sales figures does Dry January really exist?

Social Media abounds with “New Year New Me” messages to remind us all of the effect of Christmas excesses. Many of us will be taking up new gym memberships, beginning a new vegan diet, drinking more water, cutting out sugar, detoxing, running daily and quitting smoking or drinking… We’ve heard it all before – but do the sales figures suggest we listen to the health gurus? Does Dry January really exist?

We looked at alcohol sales in convenience stores around the country. Rate of sale for total Alcohol does fall to its lowest level in January, when compared to the rest of the year. (Taking into account the general increase in rate of sale since the pandemic). This could be due to Dry January or simply the desire to lay off the alcohol a little after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year! It could even be that we’ve still got plenty of wine/beer/spirits left over!

It is interesting to note that since summer the rate of sale for total Alcohol has been falling and is now almost back to pre-pandemic levels. The peak in March-May 20 coincides with the period of lockdowns.

Total Alcohol - Rate of Sale (units)
Total Soft Drinks - Rate of Sale (units)

There is no clear increase in rate of sale for Total Soft Drinks in January. If our shoppers are taking part in Dry January, there is no indication that they are replacing their alcohol purchases with Soft Drinks.

Rate of sale for Alcohol Free products does have a small peak in January which could indicate participation in Dry January. Alcohol free products are also popular during the summer months – they suit drivers coming back from parties, pregnant women, and those who don’t usually partake but who get fed up with sugary soft drinks. There are new products appearing regularly in this relatively new category, and, together with the change in shopper habits due to the pandemic, it is difficult to identify a typical sales profile – but this area could be “one to watch” for the future.

The peaks in May 20 and May 21 are likely due to the increase in awareness of this range due to the number of new products being launched. The types of product first seen In May 2020 were sparkling wine, rose wine, fruit beers and cider. In July 2020 the products included more fruit beer, red wine and lager. In May 2021 there were more lagers and this is when we first see Gordon’s Alcohol Free Gin.

Total Alcohol Free Rate of Sale (units)
Top Selling No-Alcohol Products
Barcode Product Description Stores
8712000050115Heineken 0% 330ml Nrb 4 pack1617
5410228272489Stella Artois 0.0 330ml 4 pack1221
7393714518903Kopparberg Non Alcohol 500ml Strawberry & Lime1140
7393714517906Kopparberg 0% 500ml Mixed Fruit1047
42071945Becks Blue Alcohol Free 275ml Nrb372
5410228273462Budweiser Zero 330ml 4 pack990
5010153871322San Miguel 0.0% 330ml Nrb 4 pack671
8712000053116Heineken 0% 330ml Nrb346
4100130924002Becks Blue Alcohol Free 275ml 6 pack736
5056025421400Brewdog Punk Af 330ml Nrb174
The following products are the best-selling 0% alcohol products in C-stores (along with the number of our customer stores that currently stock them.)
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