Online liquor purchases increase by up to 500 per cent

19 March, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

Liquor retailers have seen the demand for online orders skyrocket with some reporting an up to 500 per cent increase in sales compared to this time last year.

While shoppers have been racing in-store to stockpile toilet paper, hand sanitiser and packaged food items, it seems as though Australians have been turning to online stores for their liquor purchasing.

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In speaking with brick and mortar liquor retailers, the overall feedback is that up until now sales have remained steady, with one retailer telling National Liquor News “basket size has probably gone up by about 20 per cent but shoppers are coming in about 20 per cent less frequently, so it’s balancing out”.

But where there has been a huge shift in shopper behaviour is online, with retailers recording between 50 to 500 per cent increases in their online sales in the last month, compared to the same time last year.

In Sydney, craft beer specialist, Beer Cartel, has seen a 50 per cent increase in online sales as well as an increase in basket size.

Co-founder Richard Kelsey told National Liquor News, “We’re definitely getting a lot more orders and just looking at the orders that are coming through, people are also stocking up a fair bit as well.

“Often we sell beer by the singles but there has been a definite increase in people buying beer by the four and six-packs. We’re at the pointy end of the craft beer world so for us there are a lot of people purchasing the Hazy IPAs and New England IPAs, and it’s interesting to see how things are evolving with what they’re purchasing at the moment.”

Meanwhile, over in South Australia, family-owned, Skye Cellars has recorded a 500 per cent increase in online orders.

The independent retailer emailed its members saying: “We have had an increase of up to 500 per cent on our online sales recently.

“Everyone feels uncertain about the COVID-19. So, we want to assure you that we are taking all the necessary extra measures to help protect our staff, our customers and our Australian community overall.

“Despite these measures, rest assured that our deliveries are running smoothly, maybe some minor delays from our couriers but so far so good.”

As health advice continues to be delivered and more consumers are forced to stay home, there will undoubtedly be an increased reliance on online delivery for goods, including liquor. So it is more incumbent than ever for retailers to consider how best to respond to this growing demand and have a solid online strategy in place.

National Liquor News, TheShout, Australian Hotelier and Bars and Clubs will continue to work with the industry to bring you updates, news and advice regarding the impact of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months.