Boston-based Drizly released its first-ever study of how Americans shop for adult beverages, both in-store and online. The study found that digitally native Gen Z purchases alcohol from local liquor stores more often than their millennial, Gen X and baby boomer counterparts. Gen Z also ranks first when it comes to interest in drinking trends, suggesting that their purchasing behavior today could well be a benchmark for how beer, wine and spirits consumption will look tomorrow, the company says.

Drizly also found common ground among generations. For one, a shared desire for more education to help inform their purchases of wine, spirits and beer, in descending order. Although alcohol eCommerce is growing at a rate of 40 percent, and seeing a trend toward repeat usage, the majority of Americans who have purchased alcohol online still prefer to buy in-store, it adds. Still, Drizly predicts consumers will continue to shift their attention to digital, much like recent moves in the food and grocery industries. 

The following are additional key findings:

  • A Thirst for Education: When it comes to alcohol shopping, knowledge is power. Ninety-four percent of Gen Z respondents, 71 percent of millennial respondents and 61 percent of Gen X/older respondents all crave more knowledge about wine to inform their purchase decisions. At 47 percent, Gen Z is most interested in learning more about beer, besting millennials (38 percent) and Gen X/older (29 percent). This finding suggests that craft beer's future could be brighter than currently anticipated, the company prognosticates.
  • What's Trending: As suppliers innovate and introduce new products at a torrid pace, they have a welcome audience in Gen Z as 49 percent of whom pay attention to drinking trends, followed by millennials (40 percent), and Gen X/older (31 percent), respectively.
  • Sticking with Go-To Categories: Interest in what might be hot tomorrow isn't seriously impacting what we're buying today. Drizly found that almost 60 percent of respondents always or most of the time drink the same type of alcohol, and only 5 percent are open to regularly trying something new. The finding holds across generations, as Gen Z and millennials are only slightly more likely to try something new on a regular basis (6 percent) than Gen X/older (4 percent).
  • Online Shopping – Still Taking Shape: Even as online shopping becomes more the norm across major consumer goods categories, digital alcohol shopping is still a work in progress. Fifty percent of respondents who have bought alcohol online still visit local liquor stores to make the majority of their purchases. This behavior continues even with online purchasers as 62 percent of consumers that purchase from a retailer for the first time ever using the Drizly app say they are likely to shop the same retailer again in-store, the study finds.

"We're beginning to see a clearer picture of Gen Z consumers and how they will and won't change the alcohol industry, from shopping preferences to consumption habits," said Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights at Drizly, in a statement. "Like other generations, Gen Z consumers typically stick within the same category across the board, remaining beer drinkers if that is what they're most familiar with, for example. However, within their preferred category, Gen Z is the generation that is most interested in trying new drinks and learning more about wine in particular. This desire for education provides a window of opportunity for retailers to innovate and educate customers on wine, spirits and beer, whether in person or digitally."

Drizly's findings came from a survey of more than 13,600 Americans of legal drinking age conducted from April-June.