Sales of Alcoholic Beverages down as Holidays Approach

Dec 17, 2015 by

Although the “purchase incidence” for alcoholic beverages in Puerto Rico is down, this may soon change as Christmas and New Year’s approaches and more local residents purchase beer, wine and spirits.

While Gaither’s Media Brand Profiles (MBP) study reveals that the purchase incidence of alcoholic beverages hasn’t shown an increase in recent weeks, it may soon change.

“I wish I had a crystal ball…. Let’s hope that as Christmas parties are organized, the category benefits from increased purchases,” said Luis R. Burset, who is in charge of Gaither International’s Client Service Department in Puerto Rico.

The Gaither data are based on results of the first 10 days of December, which covers purchases in the past 30 days among individuals who consume alcoholic beverages.


In general terms, purchases of any of these segments are skewed to men in the higher lifestyle levels who are college-educated, Burset said.

Beer, the largest alcoholic- beverage segment, registered a purchase incidence of 62.3% in the past 30 days, as of Dec. 10, 2015. When compared to the same period in 2014, the level was 71.1%, which is a decrease of 9.2 percentage points. This segment has been steadily declining month over month since January 2015.

Gaither said the only segment that reflects an increase in purchases is whiskey, growing from 5.9% to 7.2% for the stated periods. With a sharp decline by October 2015, this segment has quickly picked up, sustaining growth in November and December, and reaching a purchase level close to that of March 2015, its highest in the past 20 months.

In turn, rum and vodka report declines, from 16.1% to 12%, and from 7.2% to 2.4%, respectively. Nonetheless, rum turned around its declining trend in October and has sustained increases since. Vodka, on the other hand, lost the purchase incidence it had been gaining up to November, with December reflecting its lowest levels ever recorded.

With a much lower purchase incidence, tequila remained stable at 1.8% for purchases in the past 30 days, while gin grew slightly, from 1% to 1.2%. This change may be deceiving, as tequila’s purchase incidence has remained stable since October 2015, Burset said.

The results are from Gaither International’s MBP tracking survey, which interviews more than 80 people daily from among a representative sample of Puerto Rico’s population ages 12 and older. 

Polling is conducted by Gaither International and results are reported by CARIBBEAN BUSINESS.