Booze, tea and coffee sales have risen after lockdown but pubs sales decline as customers stay away.
We have all had to change our shopping or dining habits throughout the pandemic. During lockdown, pubs, bars, and restaurants were forced to close and we had to stay at home. So pub sales declined but we stocked up on food and plenty to drink, filling our cupboards with tea and coffee, not to mention booze.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that sales of alcohol and caffeine-based products like tea and coffee skyrocketed in supermarkets during lockdown as people got used to home-based activities.
You might think that now lockdown restrictions are being lifted, buying in bulk would start easing up. However, that does not appear to be the case. It is estimated the sale of beer, wines and spirits have actually gone up by more than two fifths in the past month.
Customers still staying away
Despite pubs in England re-opening on the 4th of July, and 2 days later in Scotland, it seems many people still prefer to buy their booze and grub at the supermarket and eat and drink at home, rather than go to the pub.
Shops and supermarkets have seen an unprecedented growth in alcohol purchases in the past four weeks. Retail experts believe it may be the biggest spike in grocery sales since records began over a quarter of a century ago.
Refreshingly, supermarkets have also had a massive increase in the sale of tea and coffee, amounting to an additional £24 million. An extra £19 million has been spent on biscuits, so people have plenty of digestives to dunk.
Leaving out takeaways, grocery sales rose by almost two fifths in the 12 weeks before the 12th of July. The vast majority were reported to come from local convenience stores or online resources, as more people order in their groceries.
Home deliveries hit High Street sales
Inevitably, the rise in home deliveries, and stocking up with supermarket food, has seen cafes, restaurants and bars take something of a hit. For instance, the Coca Cola Company, who owns Costa Coffee, has reported a massive dip in sales. Customers have been staying out of coffee shops, and almost every outlet in Western Europe had to close during lockdown.
We have also seen a downward trend in the drinks industry. Pubs in England have experienced an almost 40% drop in trade since re-opening.
Some hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants have been opening since restrictions were lifted. However, only around 50% have opened for business to allow patrons inside to eat and drink again.
Is there a hidden cost?
Some put the failure of pubs to attract customers down to people still being afraid to visit places for fear of infection. However, this might make them drink more and hide latent addictions. It seems a large percentage of the population are choosing to eat and drink at home. This is despite trade in shops and supermarkets growing. Their concern is understandable since we have already seen some lockdowns re-imposed in places like Leicester and Aberdeen.
Many alcohol charities are concerned that people may have become accustomed to drinking to excess while at home. Some are afraid when lockdown finally comes to an end that we may face another health crisis. More and more people may end up struggling with alcohol addiction.
How do we stop over imbibing from becoming a part of the ‘new normal’; is it possible to stem the tide?
We may have picked up some bad habits throughout lockdown but let us hope they do not die hard. And there is always help available.