Independent retailers dominating online whisky sales

10 July, 2019 by Andy Young

Independent retailers are dominating the online whisky space over the supermarket chains, according to a new report from The Whisky List.

The report illustrates the success independent retailers are having recently in selling whisky digitally against the chains, countering the belief that it is impossible for indies to compete with the supermarket buying power.

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Although variances inevitably exist on an individual retailer level, the report shows that at aggregate levels FY2018/19, independent retailers far outperform chains across three key areas: product exclusivity, access to new products and price.

According to the Whisky List’s Indies vs Chains 2019 Report, there were 2361 whiskies exclusive to independent retailers, compared to 156 for the chains. Additionally there were 1167 new whiskies available at indies first, compared to 67 for the chains.

The report also showed good news on the price front with 1702 whiskies with the lowest price at independent retailers, compared with 256 at the chains.

“Supermarket chains captured 73 per cent of all alcohol sales in FY18/19 in Australia,” The Whisky List said.

“Despite facing such mighty competition, online independent retailers are expanding dramatically into the Australian liquor industry, with more stores open than ever.

“Their dominance in the whisky niche specifically is arguably due to the points of difference they offer as compared to chains. Indies (as an aggregate) stock a more diverse range from both overseas and Australian whisky producers with both exclusivity deals and access to more new releases from the brands, all whilst remaining highly competitive on price.”

The Whisky List also announced results for the value of tracked sales from its website, with 93 per cent of users purchasing whisky from independents over chains, valued at $846,000.

When surveyed, users of The Whisky List voted 85 per cent in favour of “prefer purchasing from an online independent bottleshop vs supermarket chain.”