December 5, 2022

Traditionally lagging behind other sectors in ecommerce, alcohol sales via the channel shot up 43% in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

The US is expected to lead growth in alcohol ecommerce: driven by a host of new consumers who tried ordering online for the first time during the pandemic.

Ecommerce set to take 6% share of off-trade alcohol sales 

The report looked at 16 focus markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US.

Across these key markets, alcohol ecommerce value increased by about +12% in 2019, and then by almost +43% in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

Ecommerce is expected to represent around 6% of all off-trade beverage alcohol volumes in 2025: still representing a small segment of sales but far greater than the 2% in 2018.

The greatest forecast ecommerce value growth will come from the US, thanks to average annual growth in the country of about +20%, which will see it become the top global market for online beverage alcohol.

China, which currently accounts for a third of total ecommerce value, is expected to expand less rapidly, but still contribute substantial value.

Online business models

Online business models for alcohol sales are becoming more diverse, notes IWSR, meaning consumers are increasingly shifting between channels and retailers according to their specific needs at any given time.

On the one hand, there is the more ‘traditional’ ecommerce – often omnichannel or online specialists – accessed via websites and used by older consumers seeking good prices and known brands and who are prepared to wait for delivery.