Men from Mars, women from Venus in liquor store tastes

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Appearance is as important as value for bottle shops
Appearance is as important as value for bottle shops

Related tags Wine Alcoholic beverage

As Australia’s alcohol market shrinks, researchers have told retailers they should understand better that men and women don’t always look for the same qualities in a liquor store, with different demographics being swayed by different things.  

Last year, 49% of Australian adults bought alcohol in an average four-week period, Roy Morgan Research found. For more than two-thirds of them, “good value​” is one of the factors they consider most important when purchasing alcohol. Being “close to home​” also rates quite highly, with 54% of Australian booze-shoppers preferring to purchase from a local bottle shop.

While male and female shoppers tend to feel similarly about these two factors, their priorities vary markedly when it comes to other ones that affect their purchasing experience. 

For example, among men, a “good range​” is a more important quality in a liquor store than being “located where I do other shopping​”, but for women, the latter outranks the former.

Women’s higher expectations

Women, meanwhile, have higher expectations than men when they buy liquor, with a greater proportion considering diverse factors like helpful and knowledgeable staff, clean and tidy premises and low wine prices important.

However, one thing that matters far more to men than women is the price of beer: 31% of male booze shoppers rate “low beer prices​” as important, compared with 17% of female shoppers!

A convenient location is all well and good, but for members of wine clubs like Cellarmasters or the Wine Society, convenience comes in the form of door-to-door delivery. For these people, factors such as being “close to home​” and “easy to find what I am looking for​” are far less important than for customers of more conventional bottle shops.

A much higher proportion prefers that “staff have good product knowledge​” (32% vs 19%), and that their chosen liquor outlet is a “good place to shop for wine​” (28% vs 14%). However, wine-club shoppers are just as concerned with good value as the average Australian alcohol buyer (68%).

"Which are the most important to you when purchasing alcohol?

The proportion of the population who buy alcohol in any given four weeks has fallen slightly year-on-year, from 51% to 49%​,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research. 

Considering that alcohol consumption is declining in Australia, this is not surprising. However, it’s a timely reminder to liquor retailers of how important it is to ensure their store meets the requirements of their customers​.”

While good value is the factor most people consider important when shopping for alcohol, other factors also influence purchasing behaviour. A convenient location, either close to home or near other shops the customer frequents, is a key consideration, and can actually override the desire for a good price, the research found.

With a far greater proportion of women than men being their household’s main grocery buyer, it’s no coincidence that women are more likely to consider it important for a liquor outlet to be ‘located where I do other shopping​’,” Smith added. 

Of course, bang for your buck is always going to appeal, and there are still plenty of alcohol buyers willing to travel for the sake of a better price​.”

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