5 Trends That Will Shape Alcohol E-commerce in 2022

Alcohol E-commerce

The global market for alcoholic beverages continues its slow growth. With their behavior being shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers increasingly rely on websites and apps to purchase their liquors, spirits, and brews. The niche of alcohol e-commerce is experiencing a boom, with the potential to change the entire industry.

Businesses that have been slow to jump on the digitalization bandwagon have to catch up to their trend-savvy competition. With many countries easing up on legal constraints, the alcohol e-commerce niche is attracting new businesses. Whether you plan to launch a craft beer or hard seltzer start-up or ramp up the online presence of your brick-and-mortar store, take a look at the trends that will shape alcohol e-commerce in 2022 and beyond.

The Pandemic and Its Aftermath

The Covid-19 pandemic has facilitated the biggest shift in alcohol consumer behavior. Not only have people started to drink more, with the increase of solitary alcohol consumption, they now prefer to buy their beverages online instead of going to the store. This behavior has persisted even after the lockdowns were lifted.

Since buyers increasingly rely on mobile apps and e-stores for their alcohol shopping needs, business owners have to comply with the legal framework. Even though the legal drinking age may differ depending on the location of your business, there are rules and regulations that apply to every online liquor store. Installing an age verification popup is necessary if you carry age-restricted items in your inventory.

The pandemic trends have stayed strong through 2021 and will continue influencing the market in 2022. Online retailers should pay attention to such categories as at-home cocktail making, ready-to-drink cocktails, flavored malt beverages or alcopops, and wine for cooking. They have shown the fastest growth during the last 2 years.

The U.S. Overtakes China as the Fastest-Growing Market

The U.S. has one of the most-regulated markets when it comes to alcoholic beverages. This was one of the factors stifling the growth of alcohol e-commerce in the States prior to 2020. However, after the lockdowns have prevented American bar patrons from visiting their favorite watering holes, businesses were forced to adopt an online strategy. This has led to unprecedented growth, with the U.S. online alcohol sales expected to triple by 2025.

44% of the consumers have bought alcohol online for the first time in their lives. Most of them like the convenience of placing an order and having their beverages delivered right to their doorstep. The U.S. market is now poised to overtake the Chinese alcohol e-commerce in 2022, becoming not only the fastest-growing market in the world but also the largest and most innovative.

Hard Seltzer Is the New Craft Beer

There are two beverages that experience an explosion in popularity. Hard seltzers are the fastest-growing beverage niche in the U.S. and worldwide. Manufacturers constantly expand their product lines, introducing new flavors directed at women and younger buyers. Hard seltzers are the drinks of choice for the health-conscious demographic since they have a lower alcohol count and fewer calories, sugars, and carbs than beer and wine. In addition to large manufacturers, more and more hard seltzer-focused start-ups are entering the market trying to make a name for themselves.

Tequila is the second beverage that is seeing rapid mainstream adoption, Tequila has even surpassed another best-selling spirit, Bourbon, in terms of growth. Tequila is not perceived as an exclusively celebratory drink anymore. The hard stuff aficionados switch to Blanco, Reposado, and other varieties of the iconic Mexican spirit for their casual drinking needs. The online demand for tequila is so strong that it is projected to sufficiently increase the pricing and rarity of popular Mexican brands.

The Premium Niche Is Going Strong

While the pandemic has negatively affected the consumers from the middle and the working classes, who had to switch to cheaper beverage options, the reverse is true with the affluent buyers. Brand owners are coming up with new premiumization strategies directed at their elite customers. New limited options for blended Scotch and agave-based drinks will be available for sophisticated buyers who can afford them. A significant part of high-level spenders will return to the classic brands and avoid experimenting with new drinks and flavors. This will lead to a price increase for established brands.

Lower Entry Barriers for Start-Ups

New e-commerce businesses seeking to capitalize on market changes have a window of opportunity in 2022. There are three major factors that a start-up following a D2C model can benefit from. They have to act fast while the space has not yet become crowded with competitors.

Customers are shopping by brand. Popular online services like Drizly have made it easy to find retailers and shop by brand instead of the location.

E-commerce businesses can tailor the customer experience across multiple channels. By focusing on creating a premium shopping experience, adult beverage companies can increase their brand value.

New alcohol home delivery regulations in the U.S. have made e-commerce easier. While the laws differ from state to state, there’s a general trend to make online shopping more accessible. There are special apps and plugins for e-stores that calculate taxes when buying alcohol out of state and ensure full compliance with the legal framework.

Conclusion

E-commerce will remain a critical investment for many alcohol brands. As more and more customers will continue shopping online, brands will have to adopt strategies that can be coordinated at a global level but deployed with full adherence to local laws. Companies that will be able to capitalize on the emerging trends will attract new customers and overtake the competition, expanding their market reach.

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