The coronavirus pandemic has slowed down the economy. To limit contagion, governments have ordered people to stay home and have forced businesses to shut down. While many sectors are impacted by social distancing – the travel industry and restaurants, in particular – booze sales are exploding.
Besides stockpiling toilet paper and cash, a lot of Americans are also stockpiling alcohol. They cannot go out to restaurants or bars, so they drink at home.
According to Nielsen, booze sales surged 55% in the third week of March compared to the same period a year earlier. Ready-to-drink cocktails experienced the strongest growth, with a 106% increase in sales.
It was during the same time that several states, including New York, issued a stay-at-home order . People rushed to buy wine, beer, and spirits.
With nothing better to do, many Americans drink alcohol to pass the time. Drinking alcohol is also a way – thought terrible for our health – to cope with stressful situations.
When we are under the effects of alcohol, we kind of escape from reality. And now the reality is pretty harsh.
COVID-19 is spreading and is causing an increasing number of deaths. Many people live alone and cannot see anyone, so they’re lonely. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Jobless claims soared to 3.3 million in the last report and could hit 5.5 million in this week’s report.
Booze is not a solution to problems, but people like the feeling it gives them. Not everyone is strong enough to face problems with a clear head.
Despite the recent jump, booze sales could decline in April if the recession worsens. People will consume the alcohol they stockpiled and might not buy more for a while.
As more Americans lose their job, they will have less money to spend, so they will probably spend more on essential items like food. They will likely buy more cheap beer and less craft beer.
Even when the government relaxes the rules of social distancing, and the U.S. economy returns to something close to normal, we probably won’t see an immediate recovery in booze sales. People might be afraid of going back to bars or restaurants. It will also take time for the supply chain to accelerate production again.