The global Covid-19 pandemic will have long-lasting effects on our lives for years to come. In the case of alcohol consumption, the pandemic has shifted how, where, when, and what alcohol choices consumers choose to indulge in and how they are shopping for alcoholic beverages. Pre-Covid-19, we saw health-conscious Australians turn to dryer lifestyles – from alcohol-free beer to mocktail bars. Yet as lockdown set in and Australians closed their doors, we have seen this trend reverse, with
ith liquor sales skyrocketing as consumers search for indulgence in a glass of wine at home. As Australians once again embrace their love of social drink and consumption patterns inevitably shift in time for the Christmas season, what will liquor brands and retailers need to keep in mind to succeed? It begins with looking at the five most impactful shopper shifts: Relaxing at-home occasions One-third of consumers say they are drinking more, millennials and younger families in particular are the biggest drivers of increased consumption. It comes down to consumers creating a relaxing at-home experience; whether it be with partners or family, enjoying a beverage with a meal, virtual drinks or even home alone. Trusted brands and trading down It’s no surprise that in a year of changed plans, consumers are sticking to the brands they trust. The wine category itself has seen the greatest growth amongst Australia’s most trusted and popular brands, with over 70 per cent of shoppers saying that during Covid-19 they have stuck to their ‘go-to’ bottles. But as purses tighten, Australians are trading down within these brands and we have seen an overall shift from an average spend of $13.46 to $12.81 per bottle. Outdoor dining and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages Adapting to bar and dining restrictions forced consumers to form new drinking habits that will likely continue into the future. We are likely to see more portable and convenient beverages taking preference, with canned wine and RTDs well-poised for this change in behaviour. The growth of e-commerce Covid-19 has driven a huge increase in e-commerce across Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, some liquor retailers saw over 100 per cent increase year-on-year and e-commerce growth remains above +50 per cent for the fifth consecutive month. Even in the states where lockdown and Covid restrictions have been minimal like WA and QLD, the baseline growth has been over +40 per cent. With these shopper shifts in mind, what strategies should be put in place for a successful trade this Christmas season? Create a strong omni-channel approach Given the significant increase in e-commerce and delivery sales over the past five months, it’s logical that liquor companies need to consider an omni-channel strategic approach for Christmas. For some, that may be via the traditional routes to online or offline retail, and for others, it may include a direct-to-consumer model, or a combination of all. No matter what’s right for your brand, a focus on many channels will ensure greater accessibility for shoppers. Focus on Australian and most popular brands Hero products that can genuinely claim to be locally made or are proven to be Australia’s most consumed should be a key focus. This will lead to greater sales for all occasions including gifting, a key moment for Christmas. Have a strong offering that delivers to new social norms With some level of restrictions here for the long-term, retailers need to offer products, services and experiences tailored to what will be the new norms of socialising. Therefore factor in ready-to-drink, innovative portable formats and/or relevant bundles or multi-buys for the intimate at-home social events, or new Christmas socialising occasions outdoors.