Total volume sales of beer registered a significant decline in 2020, as the enormous on-trade decline could not be completely offset by the transfer to off-trade sales. To stop the spread of the pandemic, the government shut bars and other entertainment venues from mid-March, and although restaurants have been able to remain open, they have only been allowed to operate at 50% capacity to ensure social distancing.
Off-trade sales notably increased in 2020 as a significant proportion of sales moved from on-trade channels to the other, particularly seeing as grocery retailers have remained open throughout the pandemic. Stockpiling of large multipacks was seen in off-trade outlets at the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions, as many consumers feared shortages, although this behaviour was short-lived.
Changes in the distribution of alcoholic drinks during the pandemic has also led to an acceleration of sales via e-commerce in 2020. Different types of online-based platforms have emerged, with some developments being orientated exclusively towards beer sales, such as the website birra2go.
The on-trade recovery of beer over 2021 and 2022 is anticipated to be gradual and will be highly dependent on how the COVID-19 crisis continues to develop on a global and local scale. Additional waves of the virus, additional strains, and the success and speed of the vaccine roll out will all contribute to the recovery of the category.
Benefiting from its dominance across all alcoholic drinks categories (besides having a leading role in soft drinks and packaged food), local player Florida Bebidas dominated total volume sales of beer across the review period and will continue to so in the forecast period. The company benefits from being the only industrial beer manufacturer in the country, offering leading brands such as Imperial and Pilsen, and from its broad presence across modern and traditional grocery retailers as well as on-trade establishments throughout the country.
Further specialisation within the category is anticipated to continue driving fragmentation across beer, with more types of beer resulting in a smaller share for each category. A wide assortment of both imported and local craft beers will continue gaining presence in modern grocery retailers, as well as leveraging e-commerce platforms and the expanding interest in purchasing via the channel.
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