Latest NIQ liquor data shows how economic pressure are shaping shopping habits

March 4, 2024
By Cody Profaca

NielsonIQ, the world’s leading consumer intelligence company, has recently released liquor industry findings from its Omnishopper panel. Included in the panel is receipt data from all major Australian liquor retailers such a BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Liquorland, and First Choice. 

Out of the four, Liquorland was the only retailer that experienced value increase over the 12 months up to October 2023, growing 6.8%. First Choice reported the most significant decrease in value at -10.2%, followed by BWS at -3.6% and Dan Murphy’s at -2.5%.

“The competition for share of consumer wallet is ramping up for liquor brands and retailers,” said NIQ’s Pacific Managing Director Pete Sheridan. 

“Against a backdrop of decreasing households purchasing in the category, coupled with economic pressures, insight into demographic profiles and nuances has never been more important.”

Both Coles Group and Endeavour Group reflected on the growing need to focus on value in their recent half year reports. 

“We understand the cost of living pressures that many of our customers face, such as higher rent, mortgage, energy, and other household bills,” said CEO at Coles Group Leah Weckert.

“Over the last six months, we lowered the prices of hundreds of products through our “Great Value, Hands Down” campaign and we delivered additional value through a wide range of Exclusive to Coles products, weekly specials, and our Flybuys loyalty program.”

Steve Donohue, Endeavour Group Managing Director and CEO, echoed this message.

“Dan Murphy’s strengthened its position as Australia’s preferred drinks destination for events through the festive season, with customers continuing to respond to our great range and Lowest Liquor Price Guarantee,” he said.

The NIQ data also found that consumers are spending less per transaction, however are making liquor purchases more frequently. Overall, Australian households who purchased liquor declined by -3.2%, while the average trips to the liquor store per household grew by +3.5%. Whereas residents of Queensland were found to be the most frequent liquor shoppers, averaging 16 trips in 12 months, South Australians had the greatest basket value, averaging $62 per trip.

The data also provided insight into the dynamic relationship between online and in store purchases. Between October 2022 and October 2023, online liquor value sales declined by -18.1%, with double digit declines recorded by the NIQ across all categories. Interestingly, RTD experienced the steepest decline in online value sales by major liquor retailers despite the category’s current momentum

“Online liquor sales experienced a boom in 2020 / 2021 and we are seeing this taper off and normalise,” said Sheridan. 

“Despite the current declines off the back of an arguably inflated period the prior years, we expect online sales to normalise and return to growth in the future.”

The data follows on from NielsenIQ’s growing investment into the Omnishopper sector, supported primarily by a mobile consumer rewards app. This app captures up to 250,000 receipts per month across more than 30,000 households and 69 banners.

“Our new Omnishopper technology gives our clients a more detailed view of the liquor shopper journey,” said Sheridan. 

“From picking up a bottle to head to a restaurant, to purchasing a larger basket online for a dinner-party at home. Understanding the consumer from all angles is critical for the liquor industry.”

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