Time to pay attention to Australian liquor shoppers’ frustrations

May 31, 2023

David ShukriBy David Shukri, Client Service Director, Australia

The off-premise liquor industry in Australia has reached a vital crossroads.

Australian liquor shoppers are less satisfied with the off-premise, a fact that demands attention from retailers and suppliers alike. The behaviours of younger generations must become a bigger focus, since they’re no longer simply passing fads or trends.

A recent Shopper Intelligence webinar explored these points and found that 80% of liquor professionals believe their business could collaborate more effectively with trading partners and put shoppers at the heart of their planning.

Responding to occasion-based shopping

Some used to believe that only the very youngest Australian liquor shoppers were heavily focused on buying for an occasion and buying for same day consumption. Today however, we know these habits are baked-in and that, even into their thirties, shoppers’ habits are often shaped far more by occasions than by stocking up.

18–34-year-olds, for example, are only marginally less likely to buy liquor for consumption with a specific meal than they are to buy for general stock up purposes, yet how much attention does this receive in the average category today?

Recognising the importance of providing diverse options for various moments, the industry must address both its pre-store comms and the way products are delivered in-store. Social occasions are very much back on the agenda right now. But the focus often remains on messaging around authenticity and premium ingredients, despite the fact these aspects have declined fastest in importance since last year at an all-categories level.

Balancing quality, value, and service

Inevitably, given where we are in the economic cycle, many Australian liquor shoppers now have a keener eye on value than they did 12 months ago. More people are planning to buy the brand that represents the best value for money when the get in to store, and that shift is most pronounced among under thirty-fours. At the same time, the proportion of Australian liquor shoppers willing to consider buying lower priced brands they’re not familiar with has also risen, especially within the 18-29 age range.

Of course, these shoppers are not willing to forego taste and quality in the drinks they buy. But they are looking for help to identify what makes for good value in the off-premise. Worth noting if you’re a retailer that the two aspects of delivery shoppers say have increased in importance this year are location. In other words, making it easier to find where products are in-store – and staff helpfulness. All of which underlines the fact that plotting a path beyond this crossroads in liquor is going to take greater levels of partnership and collaboration between retailers and suppliers.

Identifying price-sensitive segments, shifting the emphasis in marketing to leverage occasion-based shopping, and making sure the story is consistent and coherent all the way through to shelf. This will be what sets businesses apart in the coming twelve months.

Change is inevitable and, as always, some will wait for it to come to them. Others, however, will seize the moment and they’ll be among the 20% who get buy-in from their trading partners. The 20% who have the most influence, alignment, and success with their customers.

Question is, which group do you want to be in?

For more shopper insights and behaviours to help you win buy-in from your trading partners, contact us here.

This article was originally published in Drinks Trade and reposted here with permission.