Ecommerce alcohol sales expected to grow by 66% over the next five years

07 December, 2021

Online sales of alcoholic beverages in 16 key global markets will increase by 66% over the next five years, according to projections from IWSR.

The market analysis firm studied trends in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US.

It found that ecommerce alcoholic drinks sales increased by around 12% in those countries during 2019, but then by almost 43% amid the lockdowns of 2020.

By 2025, it believes that ecommerce will account for around 6% of all volume sales of alcoholic drinks, up from just 2% in 2018.

The market in those 16 countries alone should be worth more than $42 billion in 2025, which would represent a 66% increase on the 2020 figures.

The data forms part of a newly released IWSR study, which also found that online business models for alcohol sales are becoming more diverse, leading consumers to increasingly shift between channels and retailers according to their specific needs at any given time.

“Given the pandemic and overall changing consumer shopping behaviour, it’s certainly not surprising that alcohol ecommerce is growing very quickly,” said Guy Wolfe, strategic insights manager at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

“But what’s interesting is to see the significant variations that have developed both across and within markets in how different consumer groups shop via ecommerce and what their priorities are.

“Ecommerce has clearly become engrained for many consumers, cementing its place as the third sales channel for beverage alcohol purchase.”

Consumer research conducted by IWSR found that around one-quarter of alcohol drinkers across the Globe now report buying alcohol online.

China has the highest proportion of online shoppers among all beverage alcohol buyers, at nearly 60%, and the US has the highest proportion of online buyers who made their first purchase during the pandemic (54%).

In most markets, wine is the largest major alcoholic drinks category in ecommerce (representing about 40% of total ecommerce value), with notable exceptions being China, Colombia, Mexico, and Nigeria, where spirits lead online sales by value. Although currently accounting for less than one-fifth of total ecommerce value, beer, cider, and RTDs are expected to grow strongly over the next five years, gaining share mainly from wine, according to IWSR.

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