Alcohol consumption patterns are shifting in Australia as COVID-19 restrictions ease around the country. IRI data shows changing occasion and household dynamics mean drinking patterns are shifting as Australians adjust to the “new normal”.
Consumers have adjusted to spending more time at home, are cautious about returning to licensed venues and have become increasing conscious about managing their household budgets.
IRI said shoppers also think the collateral damage economically from COVID-19 restrictions will be longer-lasting than the health crisis itself.
An IRI Shopper Survey has found that Australians are bracing for more than a year of economic impacts from COVID-19 restrictions.
COVID-19 restrictions have placed economic stress on a number of families, impacting household budgets and ultimately what people are drinking.
“These circumstances have impacted the way people buy and consume alcohol,” the report said.
While panic buying saw significant growth in all alcohol segments in the off-premise, sales have returned to pre-COVID norms.
IRI Market Edge data shows MAT was down -0.5% in the six weeks to 8/03/2020; spiked by 21.4% in the four weeks to 5/04/2020, then dropped -2.9% in the four weeks to 3/05/2020.
In the four weeks to May 3, beer sales were down -5.5%, wine sales were down 3.3%. Spirits bucked the trend, rising 0.3%, due to growth in gin and, to a lesser extent, liqueurs.
At-home cocktail trend
According to IRI, retail off-premise sales indicate the development of a cocktail-at-home drinking culture.
Suppliers agree – Tom Spaven, brand director at Bombay Sapphire, told CNBC: “We’ve seen rises in (people making) really simple, two to three ingredient cocktails, anything from the negroni (to) the classic martini … and we’ve seen a significant rise in sales of premium mixers.”
“People are exploring new hobbies and activities — whether that’s crafts, baking, or taking time to recreate their favorite cocktail recipes at home or host a virtual cocktail hour with friends,” a Diageo spokesperson added.
Top 5 at-home cocktails
According to Google Trends, these are the top 5 cocktail recipes searches in Australia over the past 90 days:
- Pina colada
- Espresso martini
Searches for “Pornstar Martini cocktail recipe” are up 80%.
And these are the top 5 trending cocktails:
- Rob Roy
- Gin Fizz
- Blue Lagoon
“Moving forward, it will be more socially acceptable to stay in,” said IRI Data and Insights Consultant Lachlan Cameron. “We have seen an explosion of online communities and the ability to live virtually.
“This will increase the importance of in-home occasions, convenience and online delivery.”
Cameron said that value was more important than ever for shoppers.
“The premiusation trend may erode, with value offerings and bulk pack sizes to be favoured by consumers,” he concluded.