4 ways to boost declining cider sales

June 19, 2019
By Alana House

Fascinating insights have emerged from AusCider 2019, with IRI warning conference attendees the industry is facing a crucial crossroads when it comes to cider sales growth.

IRI Insights Director Daniel Bone told conference attendees that cider sales are in decline, down $22million over the past two years. This is in stark contrast to the US and UK markets, which are up 3% and 8% respectively.

According to Bone, one of the issues is that Australian craft cider hasn’t sold itself to consumers as effectively as craft beer or craft spirits.

Craft beer, for example, is growing while mainstream beer is declining. However, cider sales growth is skewed to the “value” segment, which is up $685,000; while premium and super premium cider is down $3.5million and $6.6million respectively.

“Most Australians want to purchase locally grown and made products, but cider does not own the narrative about heritage and local provenance,” he said.

However, he believes the industry has the potential to grow its penetration and frequency of purchase over the next five years and unlock an additional $248million in revenue.

“The cider industry needs to elevate the quality and diversity of Australian cider sold in the offpremise in order to enhance the sense of discovery, intrigue and understanding,” Bone said.

He suggested highlighting the use of real fruit juice, the provenance of the product and the fact that it has artisan growers and brewers, were key to elevating craft cider sales. He also said producers should be offering food pairing ideas to consumers.

Another advantage for the cider industry is that it has no significant gender skew, whereas beer is 21% female to 29% male, wine is 26% female to 23% male and spirits are 16% female to 17% male.

So, how does Australian cider unlock its potential? Overall, Bone said there are four global trends on the rise.

IRI’s top four tips for cider growth

  • Consider canned vs bottled

The four local growth brands – Mercury Hard, Pure Blonde, Little Fat Lamb and private label – have helped propel the rise of canned cider,” Bone said.

“Bottled cider sales are down 10%, but canned cider is up 8% over the past two years.”

  • Target the health-conscious drinker

“A rise in ‘better-for-you’ ciders reflects a more health attentive drinker,” Bone noted. “The low-sugar and low-carb cider market is now worth $69million. That’s up 37% in 2017-18 and 17% in 2018-19.”

He also said low and no-alcohol ciders were a trend to watch.

  • Think beyond apple & pear

Bone said the cider category’s signature flavour profiles – apple and pear – are in decline.

By contrast, cider’s no.2 growth brand, Little Fat Lamb, has been a key driver of the growth of flavoured ciders. Little Fat Lamb’s sales were up 21% in 2017-18 and 28% in 2018-19.

In the US, the fruit cider segment is led by dark fruit/berry flavours, notably Strongbow Dark Fruit, which is up 39%.

“In both craft beer and cider, pineapple is an emerging flavour trend,” Bone added. “Pineapple accounted for three of the top nine cider growth brands in the US in 2018.”

  • Pick pink

Rosé wine and pink gin sales are surging as consumers continue their love affair with pink drinks andthe same trend is emerging in cider.

Easy to drink and totally Instagram-able, rosé cider is the latest pink drink that’s hooking Millennials.

Angry Orchard’s Rosé Cider was one of 2018’s most successful NPDs, climbing to the No.2 spot within its first year on shelves. Meanwhile, Crispin Rosé was the No.2 growth US cider brand in 2018.

Strongbow Rose Cider

“Locally, Strongbow Blossom Rosé Cider has added $4million to the category in 30 weeks, with almost half of purchases made by people whose primary drink is not beer or cider,” Bone noted.

Australian Drinks Awards welcomes IRI as a sponsor

IRI, a leading global provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights, is sponsoring the Most Distinctive Brand category at the 2019 Australian Drinks Awards.

One of three consumer judged awards at the Australian Drinks Awards, alongside Fan Favourite and Most Improved Brand of the Year, it will celebrate individuality and character as it is perceived by the consumer across cider, beer, wine, RTDs and spirits.

The winners will be judged via a survey of 4000 target consumers conducted by Thrive Insights.

The Australian Drinks Awards will be held in Sydney, on August 22, 2019.

Click here for ticket details.

For more information, contact IRI at ask@iriworldwide.com.au

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