Insights on Alcohol Consumption in Australia: Part 2

Recently we shared our infograph of the alcohol consumption and purchase habits of 1,000 Australian drinkers. (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here).
In Part 2 you will learn about:
  • Alcoholic drinks of choice across consumption occasions;
  • Adjacent consumption categories of spirit mixers and snacking;
  • Social trends impacting purchase decisions; and
  • Offline versus online behaviour.

I like to have a beer rum with Duncan

When you consider the penetration level of various alcohols and the occasions in which they are most popular, it’s easy to see that alcohol plays a huge role in Australian culture. White spirits achieved the highest level of penetration amongst drinkers, and the most popular occasions for drinking white spirits are when socialising, whether that’s at a licensed venue, at home with others or at a big event or party. Sparkling wine came a close second, with most people enjoying sparkling wine to celebrate special events such as weddings.

When it comes to domestic settings, cider has certainly made its way into the mainstream, proving a popular choice ahead of both craft and non-craft beer. 
Wine excels across many consumption occasions, particularly at home and accompanying a meal at a restaurant. Although penetration is low, rosé is a popular choice for drinking at home with others and at weddings and large events, suggesting that it is an appealing option for something a little different to white wine. Interestingly, when it comes to weddings and big events, men are more likely than women to reach for the rosè!
This macro view of alcohol consumption does not take into account the frequency or volume of consumption – nonetheless, it represents opportunities for brand growth through increasing penetration and breaking into new consumption occasions.

Getting into the Spirit

Want to know what alcohol makes it into the hearts and homes of real Australians? We asked! Check out some examples of our Agents’ home liquor stashes.

And how are Aussies drinking spirits? Mostly mixed – full sugar soft drinks are still the most popular spirit mixers, with a preference for soda water or tonic water over diet soft drinks. Cocktails are also a popular choice, particularly among Millennials (25% vs 19% Gen X). The slow drinking movement favours a serving on the rocks – and we even asked this survey in the middle of Winter!

Top Tipple Nibbles

When it comes to snacking when drinking, savoury snacks are where it’s at. Potato chips are the most popular snack of choice, with Aussies proving almost as fond of cheese platters. There are some intrinsic differences between males and females when it comes to snack choice – females prefer cheese platters (73%) over potato chips (63%), whereas males prefer potato chips (71%) over cheese platters (55%). Females also prefer antipasto platters (45%) over nuts (29%), whereas men prefer nuts (38%) over antipasto platters (32%).

Social Trends Impacting Purchase Decisions

Many liquor brands are looking to social trends to remain relevant and unlock new sources of growth. When it comes to health considerations, the top two priorities are low carb (29%) and low sugar (25%). Interestingly, our research indicates that 40.5% of drinkers do not consider any health or social responsibility factors when purchasing alcohol, and of the 59.5% that do, most consider which products are Australian made and/or owned ahead of diet and health factors.

Online Versus Offline Behaviour

In an age where online retail is challenging bricks and mortar, and print media is struggling to compete with online publications, packaged alcohol is one category that is slow to move. In Part 1 of our study we reported that 93% of packaged alcohol purchases are still made in-store. You may also be surprised to learn that more than half of alcohol drinkers check out the alcohol specials in catalogues and newspapers, highlighting the need to nail the in-store execution of planned promotions and validating that print media continues to be a valuable investment of marketing dollars.
Online consumer behaviour is a vastly different story. In the past six months only 16% of alcohol drinkers have ordered alcohol online using a click and collect option, and the uptake of delivery options are lower again with only 9% having ordered for same-day delivery and only 2% having tried an on-demand delivery service. However, when queried about the likelihood of purchasing alcohol to be delivered same-day within the next six months, 62% were open to the possibility.
For now, our data suggests that brands and retailers can get the best bang for their online-buck by curating content that inspires consumers with recipes and credible online reviews, but the bulk of resources should still be focussed on in-store execution, engagement and shopper insights.

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