Virtual bottleshops see steady growth as more Aussies buy online

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Virtual bottleshops see steady growth as more Aussies buy online

Related tags Australia Retailing

Amid news that online shopping while under the influence of alcohol is now a recognised phenomenon, a growing number of Australian adults are using the internet to buy alcohol. 

According to Roy Morgan Research, 2.5% of Australian adults will buy booze online in any given month, with Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice customers being considerably more likely than the average Aussie to buy alcohol over the ether.   

In the two years to June 2014, 11% of Vintage Cellars customers made regular online alcohol purchases, as did 7.2% of 1st Choice customers. 

Both brands are owned by Coles Supermarkets, while Dan Murphy’s and BWS—whose customers were third and fifth respectively for buying booze online—come under the banner of arch-rival Woolworths. 

Something special

According to the research, 1st Choice customers were the most price sensitive, with 71% saying they favoured shopping through sites with specials deals available, compared to 59% of overall adult Australians. 

This could explain why they are more likely to buy booze over the internet, taking advantage of the lower prices often found online.

But Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice online customers don’t just buy alcohol: they are also more likely than the average Australian—or customers of other liquor stores, for that matter—to buy groceries online, and generally spend more on shopping over the internet.

While 2.0% of Australian adults buy groceries online in an average month, this figure rises to 6.2% among Vintage Cellars customers, and 2.8% among 1st Choice customers. Customers of Dan Murphy’s and BWS are slightly less likely, with 1.8% and 1.9% respectively doing their grocery-shopping on the internet.

Innovative retailers fare better

While Coles-owned liquor stores are not as popular as their Woollies-owned rivals in terms of visitation, our findings show that their customers have a greater preference for online as a shopping channel—whether it’s for buying booze, groceries or other products​,” said Warren Reid of Roy Morgan.

This represents an exciting opportunity for Coles to develop this side of its liquor operations, so as to encourage customers who may be more used to visiting their bricks-and-mortar stores, or buying their booze from other online sources​.

As we’ve seen, 1st Choice customers are far more concerned with snagging a special than those of other major liquor chains, and are also more likely to have bought groceries online​. 

Therefore by making more ‘online-exclusive’ offers, such as offering bigger discounts if you buy alcohol and groceries in the one order, might be one simple way of increasing sales among those customers​.

 “Buying alcohol online is becoming increasingly popular, and retailers that respond innovatively to this trend stand to succeed in this competitive, digital market​.”

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