What does the data say about the future of alcohol e-commerce?

February 9, 2024
By Cody Profaca

The latest IWSR Ecommerce Strategic Study suggests that alcohol ecommerce is finally entering into a period of normalisation following the Covid boom and subsequent post-pandemic correction. This normalisation will see alcohol ecommerce continue to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% until 2027, increasing in value by $7.5bn to reach nearly $40bn. This growth, while healthy, represents a major change of pace from the +31% CAGR recorded between 2019 and 2021. 

“After the pandemic boom, ecommerce value saw a slight correction in 2022 (-2%) as restrictions in most markets were removed and shoppers returned to the on-trade and to bricks-and-mortar stores,” said Guy Wolfe, Head of Ecommerce Insights, IWSR. 

“In the near term, online growth will pick up but remain depressed by a weak macro-economic outlook, before a return to steadier growth from 2024.”

The study found that, despite a 7% decrease in the number of consumers who purchased alcohol online between 2022 and 2023, those who still did buy alcohol online did so at an increased frequency across all markets. 

“In the post-Covid environment, the behaviour of alcohol buyers is evolving in different directions,” said Wolfe. 

“This indicates that the channel is shedding ‘transient’ users who only adopted it out of necessity during the pandemic, but also maintaining or even gaining appeal among ecommerce loyalists.”

The IWSR concludes that ecommerce should still remain a key priority for brand owners even with the estimated slower pace of growth. 

“Online sales value is still forecast to outperform TBA to 2027. Furthermore, consumer research conducted by IWSR in Q3 2023 confirms that the digital space is a crucial source of information, influence and engagement for buyers across all channels.

“Ecommerce therefore remains a key element within the big picture of total value.”

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