The tipples consumers are gifting for Christmas 2018
Prosecco, rosé and craft beer and spirits are predicted to be consumers' favoured tipples this Christmas.
According to IBISWorld premium and craft alcoholic beverages, particularly small, seasonal batches with a local or regional focus, will be the top choices for gifting.
IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst James Thomson told Food & Drink he expects retailing spending on liquor in Australia will total $1.6 billion in December 2018, an increase of 2.7% over the previous December.
It was a similar story at Cellarmasters, with a spokesman saying "it's still the bubbles, the rosé, sparkling shiraz and reds that are the biggest go-tos".
A survey by comparison website finder.com.au found total spending over the festive season is projected to hit $25 billion, with Aussies spending $1325 each on average.
“We found that people expect to spend on average $464 each on presents, $444 on travel, $131 on alcohol, $122 on food and $61 on decorations,” finder.com.au personal finance expert Kate Browne told News Corp.
“This is what people estimate they’re spending though — there’s a good chance many will spend much more, as we tend to do at Christmas.”
Meanwhile, a PayPal study of 200 small and medium Australian businesses about Christmas found that, on average, they expect Christmas sales to produce 43% of their annual revenue.
One in 10 are relying on Christmas-shopping season to contribute up to 80% of sales for the entire year.
Over at the Commonwealth Bank, its Christmas Consumer Spending 2018 Study found Christmas shopping will set Aussies back $10.7 billion this year, with 85% of millennials spending up to $1000 on gifts.
It predicts the busiest days for sales will be the 15th, 18th and 22nd December, with NSW and the ACT biggest spenders – on average, NSW and ACT are set to spend the most on Christmas gifts, at $637, while VIC/TAS will spend the least, at $519.
Fascinating insights from the UK off-trade
In the UK off-trade alcohol sales over the 12 weeks of Christmas account for around a sixth of all FMCG sales and a third of total annual off-trade alcohol sales.
Shoppers spent £116 million (2.6%) more on alcohol during Christmas 2017 than they did the year before – and Gemma Cooper told Drinks Retailing News she expects to see that figure rise again this festive season.
"Gin is the star performer within spirits, having generated a standout 79% of spirits growth in the latest year (£264 million)," she said.
"The beer category has made a comeback through 2018, with world beer and craft beer driving growth, and this will continue into Christmas. Last Christmas sales of world and craft beer increased by £21.6 million, a 15.7% increase over the previous year, and we expect this growth to accelerate over Christmas.
"Champagne has suffered over recent years, but since the start of 2018 it has seen year-on-year growth each month and is showing no signs of slowing. Around 15% of sales for off-trade alcohol are in Champagne in the week running up to New Year’s Eve."
Interestingly, Cooper said a whopping 55.5% of annual spirits miniature sales and 28% of still and sparkling wine minis occur during the Christmas period.
"Sales of spirit miniatures rose 40.5% last Christmas, driven by gin, malt Scotch and liqueurs, and wine miniatures up 15.5%. They’re a staple for many when it comes to gifting, as shoppers can purchase about three miniatures for £10, making them great stocking fillers or secret Santa gifts. These present a great opportunity for retailers and brands to think about how best to position miniatures to capture shopper spend, and to use them to attract shoppers looking for less expensive or top-up gift options."
Favoured tipples for Santa
According to NPR, it's usually milk and cookies left out for Santa on Christmas Eve in the US, but offerings are more boozy in other parts of the world.
The Christmas Eve drinking gets its start Down Under, on Santa's first stop.
"I think Australian customs are quite close to [America's]," said food historian Barbara Santich of the University of Adelaide, "except that it might be a bottle of beer or glass of sherry or wine instead of milk," perhaps accompanied by a bit of fruitcake, which is usually also laden with whiskey or rum.
Meanwhile, British diplomat Andrew Overton noted that "British children will often leave out a mince pie and a nip of sherry to brace Father Christmas for the chill."
A survey by Tesco found a third of UK households would leave a dram of whisky, followed by 19% of homes would leaving a sherry out, 14% opting for beer and one in 10 choosing wine.
In Ireland it's a pint of Guinness, while Norwegians choose a jug of beer with a serve of rice pudding.