8 ways summer displays help sell beer

By Tom Ryan

Summer's here, and shoppers are stocking up for backyard BBQs, picnics, tailgate parties and countless other beer-drinking activities.

That also means beverage companies like Molson Coors Beverage Company are vying for their share of drinkers’ attention, an effort that starts with retail beer displays that stop shoppers in their tracks and entice a consumer to pick up a case.

And the Fourth of July weekend presents an opportunity for beer brands that’s second to none.

“When it comes to triggering purchase and driving incremental sales, the power of displays is pretty staggering,” says Russell Fowler, senior manager of customer solutions at Molson Coors.

On top of that, he says, “beer is not getting its fair share of displays compared to wine and spirits,” which is particularly vexing considering beer displays are two times more productive than spirits displays and 1.4 times more productive than wine.   

That puts extra importance on getting beer displays in front of customers, as well as creating blueprints and packaging that make it easy for distributors to build, he says.

Nearly half of shoppers say that displays play a big part in their decision to buy beer while grocery shopping, according to Molson Coors data. And nearly a third of shoppers say displays influence their decision to purchase a particular brand.

Fowler and his team assembled eight facts highlighting the importance of displays in large-format and convenience stores:

  1. Premium lights, such as Coors Light and Miller Lite, generate the most incremental sales of any beer segment when on display, accounting for $137 in additional sales per display. A full 60% of incremental sales of premium lights are generated from displays, per data from IRI Unify.
  2. The Fourth of July, along with Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving, rank as the top incremental sales weeks of the year. Beer displays during the Fourth of July holiday provide as much incremental value to the category as Christmas and New Year’s combined, IRI data show.   
  3. Displays provide additional inventory to help retailers avoid out-of-stocks during key selling seasons like summer. With 87% of premium light buyers loyal to one brand, maintaining sufficient inventory is crucial to avoid losing the sale. And with nearly 40% of shoppers reporting they’ve encountered out-of-stocks, the industry is leaving up to $500 million in revenue on the table each year, according to an IRI OmniConsumer survey.
  4. A quarter of beer shoppers in large-format stores, which include big-box discounters and grocers, say they purchase unplanned products, and 44% of them say those purchases were triggered by displays.
  5. Nearly 50% of large-format shoppers indicate they purchase beer from a display during at least half of their trips. And nearly 10% say they purchase beer from a display nearly every shopping trip. And they’re not just buying beer from displays in the beer aisle; one in five shoppers say they purchase beer from a display away from the beer aisle or at the front of the store, according to a 2022 Shopper Pulse survey on the food and convenience channels.
  6. In convenience stores, 80% of shoppers do not pass by the primary beer location. Displaying beer in high-traffic locations drives conversion by reminding shoppers that beer is available.
  7. Nearly a third of C-store beer shoppers say they purchase unplanned products and 24% were triggered by a display, according to the Shopper Pulse survey.
  8. Displays account for 76% of incremental dollars in convenience stores. Overall, beer generates $2.6 billion for the convenience channel when on display, per IRI.

“Displays are the ultimate sales driver at retail,” Fowler says. “In fact, beer enjoys a 10% revenue lift when it’s on display. For retailers to ensure a successful summer and beyond, they need to make sure they’re tapping into the power of displays. If they do, they’ll enjoy some serious sales fireworks this Fourth of July."