My first true foray into online purchasing was trying to find discounted textbooks for my college courses. Since those days, my consumer packaged goods purchases online have spanned many markets: food, beverages, home goods, movies, etc. However, one area in which I remain an online purchasing novice has been alcohol. A recent study conducted by ZX Ventures, Anheuser-Busch’s North America eCommerce team, shows that online grocery shopping will continue to increase, and beer is well-positioned to take advantage of this growth.
Data from Statista suggests that online grocery shopping is expected to more than double between 2019 and 2023. To see what consumers’ appetites are for online purchasing and beer, ZX Ventures surveyed consumers around the United States and United Kingdom.
According to ZX Ventures, 30 percent of U.S. beer shoppers indicated interest in buying beer online, which is up from a 20 percent figure in 2017. Yet, the research firm also notes that one-third of U.S. small-format shoppers are not aware that they can purchase beer online.
It also seems as though online beer shoppers have brews on their mind when making these purchases. In fact, the eCommerce team found that 70 percent of the U.S. respondents who had bought beer online said that beer was the driving force or their only reason for going shopping.
When it comes to demographics, ZX Ventures found that the online small-format shopper is more likely to be from the millennial generation and live in urban areas. Interestingly, of these consumers, nearly one-third (32 percent) do not shop in-store at small-format stores, but instead use only digital avenues.
Online shopping carts also showcase a preference for craft beer options, the research found. Although domestic premium beer leads all purchases for small-format online and in-store shoppers, 54 percent of surveyed U.S. consumers indicated that craft beer was their most recent online beer purchase. In comparison, craft beer was named by 20 percent of in-store, small-format shoppers.
But craft beer is not the only beer segment realizing the benefits of online alcohol purchases. Leading up the Super Bowl, hard seltzers showed up as one of the big winners. According to eCommerce platform Drizly, hard seltzer continues to increase the percentage of beer sales on the app week over week. Hard seltzers accounted for 20 percent of all beer sales on Drizly on Super Bowl Sunday, which is up from the 18 percent share the prior two weekends, it says.
When it came to online sales, one seltzer brand seemed to get a Super Bowl boost. According to Drizly data, Bud Light Seltzer sales on the platform increased 95 percent from the week of Jan. 12 — when its ad dropped — and up 55 percent from the week of Jan. 26 — the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
As eCommerce platforms become more sophisticated, it seems as though the beer category and all of its segments are well-positioned to capitalize on the many opportunities that eCommerce can offer.