Consumers Approach Alcoholic Beverage Buys With a Plan

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Consumers Approach Alcoholic Beverage Buys With a Plan

06/16/2017

NEW YORK — Understanding what drives shoppers to the store and why they make the choices they do is particularly relevant to the $37-billion beer market, according to Nielsen.

A recent category shopping fundamentals study found that, surprisingly, millennials are not the most impulsive shopper group when it comes to alcoholic beverage purchases.

In an October 2016 survey conducted by Nielsen, 18 percent of baby boomers who bought alcoholic beverages in the past 30 days had made an impulse purchase, compared to just 11 percent of millennials. At the same time, 16 percent of millennials said that it wasn't until they were in the store that they "recalled" the need to make a purchase.

Overall, the majority of both millennials and baby boomers say they plan their alcoholic beverage purchases before they shop.

When comparing millennial and baby boomer shopping differences, study results showed that the largest distinction pertained to the degree to which each generation has a specific brand in mind for their planned purchases. This is likely due to a combination of the degree of experience with alcoholic beverages that comes with age, along with the differentiated nature of generational attitudes and behaviors, according to Nielsen.

More than half of the time, 52 percent of baby boomers know which brand they plan to purchase when they make a shopping trip, while less than a quarter (24 percent) of millennials do the same. As millennials have fewer planned brands in minds when heading to the store, retailers and suppliers have a greater opportunity to influence their in-store purchases.

When looking at specific kinds of alcoholic beverages, millennials plan their champagne purchases more than table wine or any other alcohol purchase. Twenty-seven percent say they know what champagne band they will purchase, compared to 21 percent regarding wine brands.

Millennials also rely on word-of-mouth, previous purchase experiences and research to help plan their wine and champagne purchases. Forty-three percent of millennials depend on previous experiences to inform their decisions, compared to 71 percent of baby boomers.

As baby boomers and millennials represent two of the largest consumer groups in the United States, understanding what influences their alcoholic beverage purchases will help retailers, suppliers and manufacturers offer the right in-store assortment and execute the right marketing strategies to help influence undecided shoppers, Nielsen said.