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Americans Are Buying A Lot of Alcohol Right Now, Data Shows

Online alcohol sales were up 243% from the same time last year, according to new Nielsen data.

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While the wider U.S. economy is taking a serious hit during the coronavirus pandemic, the alcohol industry is apparently thriving. 

Americans were buying 55% more alcoholic beverages in the week ending March 21 compared to the same period last year, according to Nielsen Corp. data described by the Associated Press. Online alcohol sales surged by 243% that week as well, with Nielsen analysts suspecting people were stocking up on food and drink ahead of statewide shelter-in-place orders.

In the week ending March 14, consumers were buying big-box packages of alcohol with an increase in sales of 3-liter boxes of wine, canned wine, and 24-packs of beer. As for spirits, tequila and gin sales surged by 75% more than the same period last year. Online wine company Vivino also said March 13, 2020 was its highest sales day ever, “beat out only by Black Friday 2019.”

Nielsen’s Vice President Danelle Kosmal said in a comment cited by Forbes that while alcohol sales have increased by double digits, consumers are still prioritizing other goods over booze. 

“This is an indication that Beverage Alcohol is important to consumers, but other consumer goods categories are being prioritized,” Kosmal said. “As more and more on-premise locations close, I think we will continue to see off-premise sales for beer, wine and spirits grow even more.” 

Kosmal also said data from the end of March will better capture demand for alcohol in the U.S.