ROSEMONT, Ill. -- “The overall packaged-beverage category is in great shape.”
So said Andy Jones, president and CEO of Sprint Food Stores, Augusta, Ga., in presenting the Top 10 product category data during NACS’ State of the Industry Summit in Rosemont, Ill., this past week.
Nonalcohol packaged-beverage and beer dollar sales grew 4.7% and 4.8%, respectively, in convenience stores during 2016, according to preliminary data.
Here’s a look at how the packaged-beverage category played out in 2016 …
“Packaged beverages averaged more than $10,000 [in gross-profit dollars] per store per month last year,” making it the highest gross-profit generator in the store, Jones said.
Both nonalcohol and alcohol beverages were second (a third) to only cigarettes in terms of dollar sales during the year.
Nonalcohol packaged-beverage unit sales increased 0.8% in 2016, with units up nine out of 12 months compared to the previous year.
While carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) continue to lead the beverage category in terms of market share (30.8%), the subcategory saw both dollar and unit sales decline 0.4% and 1.0%, respectively. Meanwhile, alternative beverages (energy drinks) grew 1.1% in unit sales, compared to 6.4% growth in 2015.
In all, five beverage subcategories—alternative, bottled water, sports drink, enhanced water and “other”—saw unit volume growth in 2016, and three—CSDs, juices and iced tea—declined.
In terms of dollar sales, CSDs continue to lead the category with an average $7,639 per store per month, compared to No. 2 energy drinks’ $6,449 per store per month. However, energy drinks did overtake CSDs in terms of monthly gross-profit dollars, bringing in $2,691 per store per month, compared to CSDs’ $2,575.
In the beer category, “We had a stellar year of volume growth,” Jones said, noting overall growth of 3.2%.
Unit volume grew during all 12 months of 2016 compared to the previous year, and “premium beers dominated,” accounting for 48.3% of c-store sales, he said.
The large growth, however, came in imported (up 15.8%), micro/craft (up 14.2%) and superpremium (up 18.5%) beers.
“Imports grew faster than craft beers in 2016,” Jones said. “With the size it has grown to (15.3% share of the category), the double-digit growth is making a major impact.”