Research shows changing consumer perceptions towards liquor stores

26 February, 2016 by

By Andy Young

Research from Roy Morgan has shown that fewer consumers now believe that 'all liquor stores are about the same' than they did in 2006.

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In the 12 months to September 2006, 56 per cent of Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in an average four-week period believed that ‘all liquor stores are about the same’. By September 2015, this figure had fallen to 47 per cent.  

Meanwhile, the proportion who agreed that ‘no single liquor store is best, but two or three are better than others’ rose from 35 per cent to 42 per cent over the same time period; and those who felt that ‘one liquor store is the very best’ went up from 6 per cent to 9 per cent.

This means that just over half of all Australian alcohol buyers believe that some liquor retailers are better than others, a figure that, Roy Morgan says, looks set to continue rising as the proportion of ambivalent shoppers declines.

Among alcohol-buyers who feel that ‘two or three stores are better than others’, 78 per cent nominated Dan Murphy’s, ahead of BWS (38 per cent), Liquorland (28 per cent) and 1st Choice (23 per cent).

Terry Mott, CEO of the Australian Liquor Stores Association, told TheShout: "The Roy Morgan report confirms again that alcohol beverage shoppers are becoming more particular about where and how they shop. The have a repertoire of several liquor stores where they will return regularly. 

"High on their priorities for choice of store are of course perception of value and importantly convenience of being close to home or where they do their other shopping, carrying the product range they want and staff/customer service. The value perception is much broader than simply price – so retailers don’t need to only focus on trying to be the cheapest on everything, every day. 

"These factors again highlight the opportunity for packaged liquor stores to focus on their local customers, ensure the range matches their requirements and ensure they always have helpful, well trained staff – not simply shelf stackers or money collectors. Getting and holding the right staff and supporting them with sales and product training is one area where our industry needs to invest, to ensure they can project the right balance to their regular customers and attract new or occasional customers to grow profitably."

Andrew Price, general manager of consumer products at Roy Morgan Research, said that the dominant position of Dan Murphy's means it could be classed as a "category killer".

He added: "So where does this leave other liquor retailers? Between Dan Murphy’s overwhelming prevalence, and the large sector of the alcohol-buying public who think all liquor stores are the same, other retailers seeking a higher profile and/or better public image have their work cut out for them. 

"That’s not to say the challenge is insurmountable, but without a detailed understanding of their target consumers – spanning everything from demographics, attitudes, motivations and media consumption habits – and a communications strategy tailored accordingly, it will certainly be an uphill battle."