European consumers spent €2.2 billion more on treats during the first coronavirus lockdown, a new study from IRI has shown.
This amount corresponds to an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year.
The study is based on the sales of alcohol, salty snacks, sweets and chocolate across seven European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands.
Spain and the UK saw the most significant increase in consumption with spending up by 21% and 19%, respectively.
It was followed by the Netherlands at 12%, Greece at 10% and Germany at 6%.
France and Italy saw a marginal increase in the overall sales of treats, with large increases in specific sectors, the study noted.
'New Ways To Cope'
Vice-president of marketing, Europe and South Africa at IRI, Anne Lefranc, commented, “As people’s homes became their world during the lockdown, they found new ways to cope and we saw people recreating their social occasions online or creating new traditions with their family.
“Understanding these trends shows us the opportunities that are open to brands and retailers during further periods of lockdown this winter as people move indoors and are perhaps even more tempted to treat themselves during this period of uncertainty.”
The study revealed that the sales of wine grew between four to 17 percentage points in all countries compared to the period before the lockdown, with the exception of Greece and France.
Spain, the Netherlands and the UK reported the highest growth in wine sales during the lockdown.
France saw wine sales decline by almost 31%, while beer sales registered a 12% growth in value.
The lockdown also witnessed the rise of the ‘aperitivo occasion’ wherein people organised online get-togethers in an attempt to recreate their evenings out with salty snacks and spirits.
The sales of salty snacks saw the highest growth in Spain (+28%), Greece (+27%) and Germany (+16%) in this period.
However, the UK retained the top spot as the biggest market with sales amounting to €1.2 billion (+3.5%).
In the spirits category, rum aced the charts in Greece and France; gin in Italy and Germany; tequila in Spain and premixes in the UK.
The study found that the sales of sweets and candies declined in almost all countries.
However, Spain witnessed a 2% growth in confectionery sales driven by children’s favourites, such as gummy candies.
The sales of popcorn grew by over a half (+53%) in Italy and 19% in Germany during the lockdown as family film nights replaced going out to theatres.
The sales of chocolate bars soared in this period as many resorted to home baking, with France (+40%), Spain (+39%), Italy (+33%) and Greece (+28%) seeing the highest growth.
The sales of chocolates for seasonal celebrations, such as Easter, was impacted due to the lockdown, the study noted.