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How alcohol ecommerce sales are being impacted across North America

The situation related to COVID-19 caused swift and immediate impact across the U.S. and Canadian economy. Many customers turned to delivery services as a safer alternative and as they spent more time at home. The beverage alcohol industry experienced unprecedented demand in off premise beverage alcohol sales, and in particular, ecommerce beverage alcohol sales.

Leveraging Drizly (the leading ecommerce bevalc marketplace) sales data, this report aims to provide unfiltered insights into this growth in the bevalc industry across North America in early months, as well as how consumer purchasing patterns did–or did not shift.

About the data

Drizly partners with 2,600+ retailers across North America to deliver beer, wine and liquor right to consumers’ doors. The data below breaks down impacts on sales, average order size, and consumer purchasing behavior on the Drizly platform, specifically.

The "baseline" reflects what Drizly would have expected to see at this point in time. It factors both time of year, as well as the average growth rate prior to the COVID-19 crisis. This report was updated through June 1, 2020.

Daily and Weekly Sales Impact

Sales growth above baseline in May hovered above 400% on average. During the week of 5/17, sales were up 391% over baseline or what we would have expected to see during this time.

Sales have continued to distribute across the week as more consumers are home during the work week. Additionally, we are seeing returning user order count continue to increase week over week.

 Note the baseline for week of 3/23 does include Superbowl Sunday, which typically sees sales that are 50% higher than an average Sunday. Given this, the increase for this Sunday, 3/29 is slightly skewed and is actually higher. 

Average Order Size by Day

Consumers not only ordered more frequently, but also at a larger quantity per order. Average order size shot up to an average of 50% higher than baseline going in that second week (week of 3/16), indicating that consumers were exhibiting a “stock up” mentality. There were ebbs and flows since, with spikes in spending on the weekends, particularly on Sundays. Unlike the four prior weeks, AOV was at its highest on the Monday Memorial Day holiday, perhaps pointing to people stocking up for bbqs at home. Though we started to see a gradual decrease back to the norm, AOV has generally remained well above baseline.

Weekly Market Sales Growth v. Baseline Across Top Drizly Markets

During the last week of May, NYC experienced some of the highest week over week growth above baseline – jumping from 190% to 260%. Some markets have steadily experienced growth well above the national average, including Westchester, Norwalk and Hartford-New Haven, CT, Providence, and Minneapolis.  Houston and San Antonio experienced a higher amount of growth above baseline, as did Seattle, Newark, and Boston. Florida markets such as Tampa and Miami have consistently experienced some of the least amount of growth above baseline.

Sales Share by Category

Year-over-year, we saw category share remain fairly static over time, with some slight shifts in the direction of wine over the last couple of weeks in May (up to 44% at various points). Overall, however, share did increase in the direction of spirits and away from wine.

Subcategory Sales Growth v. Baseline

In terms of growth above baseline, the biggest success stories thus far as we headed into warmer weather weremezcal, hard seltzer, and ready-to-drink, with continued strong performance of cocktail accoutrements and ingredients. During the week of 5/17, leading into Memorial Day weekend, we saw the biggest week over week share increases in vodka (+1%), hard seltzer (+2%) and silver/blanco tequila (+1%).

Wine:  Rosé has very slowly started to gain its typical seasonal foothold as a share of wine (up from 8% of total share four weeks prior to 11%), but is still seeing some of the smallest growth above baseline in this past week. Dessert wine continues to be the only subcategory in wine experiencing higher than average growth above baseline. Champagne and sparkling had a bit of a resurgence this week in particular, growing at 375% above baseline.

Spirits & extras:  Mezcal had a standout week, accelerating to 1,064% growth above baseline. Ready-to-drink continued to experience major growth this past week, sitting at 841% growth above baseline. We continued to see strong performance from mezcal tequila (+546%) and gin (+595%). Mixers/syrups/bitters, garnishes, liqueur, cordials, schnapps all have continued to outpace the average growth above baseline, with cocktail culture coming home.

Beers:  Hard seltzer continues to dominate. Ales had a strong week, sitting at 483% growth above baseline.