Nielsen Explores the Alcoholic Beverage Consumer's Mindset

NEW YORK -- A new Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study pulls back the curtain on the consumer's mindset when they buy alcoholic beverages and highlights some key takeaways to help drive sales.

Exploring the demographics of alcoholic beverage consumers, the study found that Millennials are experimental and attentive consumers. Retailers can reach this group of shoppers through in-store displays, promotions and new product launches. Hispanic consumers, on the other hand, are highly engaged with pre-store influencers. Tailored messaging resonates with this demographic and can influence decisions made later at the shelf.

As for the convenience store industry's traditional core customers, the study found that males purchase more alcoholic beverages than females. "While differences become more nuanced by category, current marketing activity seems to resonate more strongly with male consumers," according to Nielsen. "Females are more difficult to reach as they prove to be less engaged with both in-store and pre-store stimuli. Females are also more likely to purchase alcohol at the request of another person."

The Nielsen study also highlighted some key category takeaways:

  • Consumers are more impulsive with pre-mixed cocktails and malt-based beverages purchases. While decisions to buy alcoholic beverages are planned in 69 percent of instances, niche categories, such as pre-mixed cocktails and flavored malt-based beverages, reflect a pronounced shift to more impulse purchase behavior. While pre-store marketing is still important for brand awareness, focused in-store efforts can activate these unplanned purchases.
  • Consumers typically postpone spirit purchases until they venture out to make other purchases. While consumers largely plan their trips to make spirit purchases, the spirit purchases themselves only trigger 39 percent of the trips. Combining alcohol marketing communication with consumer packaged goods is key for activating these types of purchases. The range of state regulations regarding the distribution of products with high alcohol by volume levels also holds a profound impact on how, when and where spirits are purchased.
  • Traditional beer drinkers are planners. Overall, beer consumers exhibit a high level of planning and habitual in-store behavior. Mainstream domestic beer consumers are purpose-driven, consuming 78 percent of their purchases on the same day. Marketers can break through consumers' habitual behavior by using occasion-based marketing, highlighting a variety of settings to consume and share the beverage.
  • Craft beer consumers, on the other hand, are much more impulsive. Craft beer drinkers make purchases without having a specific occasion in mind. These consumers are attentive to in-store marketing triggers, providing opportunities for specialty and seasonal beers alike.
  • Wine drinkers are explorers and make their purchase decisions in-store. Compared to the beer and spirits categories, a high level of wine purchase decisions are made in-store (37 percent), and consumers make 70 percent of their product decisions at the shelf. Engagement with the category begins even before visiting the store. Wine samples, engaging in word-of-mouth and recalling exposure to advertising can greatly help boost this category's sales.


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