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Impulse buying boom in the off-premise

A new report by Shopper Intelligence – ‘Liquor after the crisis’ – has revealed that impulse buying in liquor has increased by 5% during COVID-19.

Insights from more than 9000 shoppers during August and September were compared year-on-year to identify the top three post-COVID shopper trends. They were:

More impulse buying for today’s occasion

Shoppers are looking on shelf for solutions to their “occasion for today” dilemmas, for example, drinks to match with their meal.

According to Shopper Intelligence there has been a 5% increase in impulse purchasing compared to pre-COVID-19. It suggests suppliers review marketing spend pre-store versus in-store and shift emphasis to shelf/display to trigger purchase.

Impulse behaviour is being led by 35-54-year-olds, with the segment up 7%. Victorians are the most impulsive shoppers, up 7%. Impulse buying is most prevalent in wine, up 5%, and RTDs, up 5%.

Customers retreat to value, with flights to premium

Shopper Intelligence’s data shows polarisation on price. Beer leads for shoppers switching to value, while premium is growing in relevance in cider and premix.

It suggests evaluating “range architecture and brand proposition”.

“Get on top of your category’s dynamics and re-weight value offer by segment or brand where required,” said Managing Director Simon Ford.

Health & innovation are key

Interest in healthy choices was one of the biggest trends Shopper Intelligence saw in the off-premise in 2019, with no sign of it slowing in 2020. Shoppers reported that sugar and calorie reduction were their top two priorities last year and the smaller format stores in particular made big gains with shoppers in terms of delivering against these health needs.

Healthy choices are increasingly expected by consumers in core ranges.

The new segment to watch is hard seltzer, as products usually contain less than 100 calories and generally have a lower ABV of around 4-5%.

“Lead on the health message to future proof your brands and build trust,” Ford said.

Interest in liquor innovation and new ideas was up 6% versus pre-COVID-19, with Shopper Intelligence recommending investment in new ideas at shelf, including information, occasion matching and value-adding NPD.

The group most interested in innovation were males, up 13%, with the top age group being 35-54-year-olds, up 14%. NSW was the state with the biggest focus on innovation, up 10%.

First Choice Liquor was the top channel, up 23%, followed by IGA Liquor, up 16%.

“With innovative new ideas more important than ever, re-assess range and rotation of new brands into the range,” Ford added.

For more information on the Shopper Intelligence Off-Premise Liquor program, contact

Hard seltzer sales predicted to hit $300m in Australia

Pictured main: South West Rocks Country Club bottle shop.

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