Big night in New Year's Eve 2020

Turning big nights out into big nights in

As some form of restrictions are expected to continue ahead of New Year’s Eve, the chances that consumers near you will be heading out to big parties and raves – legal or not – are slim to none.

This means there will be an increased focus on big nights in, presenting independent stores with an opportunity to push sales of premium food and drink.


Charlotte Rann, director of impulse and RTM for UK & Ireland at Bacardi, explains that 35% of shoppers are unaware of the range of premium spirits available within convenience stores. “We also know two-thirds of shoppers will spend more than they originally budgeted,” she says.

Therefore, for savvy retailers looking to boost spend ahead of the occasion, clever merchandising of premium spirits can inspire consumers to pick up items that may not have been on their shopping lists, increasing basket spend.

Second lockdown is huge opportunity for convenience stores

Tricks, such as displaying drinks alongside much-loved garnishes, like pairing Corona next to limes, are not only revenue drivers, but create a quick and easy shopping experience driving customer loyalty.

Jess Markowski, convenience sales director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK & Ireland, says: “Retailers can look to boost spend ahead of New Year’s Eve through promotional offers. Last year, alcohol sales grew by 3.8% driven by promotional support as shoppers looked to ‘chase deals’ in the run-up to the festive celebrations.”

Meanwhile, Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, agrees cross-category displays and price-marked packs (PMPs) are a sure-fire way to increase spend.

She cites that 41% of soft drink shoppers are on a food-to-go mission, so retailers should place drinks alongside complementary categories like crisps and snacks to drive linked purchases, and use clear pricing and promotions to grab shoppers’ attention.

“Group key soft drinks segments like cola, mixers and premium adult soft drinks together to make the fixture easy to shop, and consider stocking PMPs as they offer visible value, reassuring shoppers they can get the products they want, at an affordable price,” she adds.

Last year, prosecco was a standout drink over Christmas and New Year, with more than a quarter of 2019’s prosecco sales made in the last eight weeks of the year.

While we may be set for an out-of-the-ordinary festive season this year, we can almost certainly expect prosecco-based drinks to maintain their popularity during the period.

For retailers, this generates potential for impulse purchases of brands such as Aperol (which can be mixed with prosecco to create a spritz). Displaying these ingredients together alongside soda and oranges could therefore encourage additional basket spend.

Nick Williamson, marketing director at Campari UK, says: “This approach to merchandising also makes it easier for shoppers to get everything they need in one place, creating a convenient and stress-free shopping experience.”

While focusing on spirits is key, retailers shouldn’t forget no- and low-alcohol options. Bacardi’s Charlotte Rann adds that on New Year’s Day, retailers need to be ready to switch their displays as people look to change their eating and drinking habits after an indulgent holiday season.

“We’re predicting 2021 will be the biggest dry January ever. Our research found almost half of people plan to take part this year, with 24% doing so for the first time ever.

“This year, we launched Martini Non-Alcoholic to help convenience retailers tap into this growing sales opportunity,” she adds.

Elsewhere, Diageo also recently launched its first alcohol-free beer with Guinness 0.0, and Accolade Wines tapped into this market with Hardys 0.0% Chardonnay, Echo Falls Botanicals and Echo Falls Rosé Seltzers.

Snacks and bakery

Moving on from alcohol, snacks and bakery treats are also essential for New Year’s Eve, and while they may pretty much sell themselves, retailers can boost spend with a few simple hacks.

Matt Collins, trading director at KP Snacks, says when putting together snacks displays, focusing on ways to help make a big night in feel like a big night out should be priority.

This can be done by concentrating on sharing formats, drawing attention to seasonal displays and offering complementary items.

“Dedicated fixtures that make shopping easy are a good way to drive impulse purchases – 51% of shoppers are more likely to visit their local store if they offer themed promotions. Window posters and shelf barkers are also great ways to catch attention and encourage impulse sales,” he adds.

Secondary displays are also essential, and retailers, adds Collins, should implement more than one site of bestsellers at high-footfall areas of the store, such as by the till or at the entrance. “Displays unlock further purchases, with one in 20 shoppers buying from secondary display.”

Reiterating the need to offer items that help shape a big night in, Paul Baker, founder of St Pierre Groupe, adds that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers are increasingly looking for products that deliver indulgence and “upgrade the ordinary”.

Covid-19 retail advice from around the world

“Given the current situation, people are more likely to only be able to entertain in small groups at home this year. This means they will be looking for premium options, which can transform what is traditionally a night for partying into a special big night in.

“One of the ways convenience retailers can do this is by providing easy solutions, such as brioche, which can be used for recreating restaurant-quality meals at home,” he concludes.

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