Customer preferences and spending habits are always changing — including how, where, and when they are buying alcohol.
According to Beverage Daily, alcohol ecommerce is poised to grow 66% by 2025. With that significant growth projection, restaurants and other retailers have an opportunity to capture a slice of the lucrative alcohol delivery market.
In this article, we’ll review 6 of the latest alcohol delivery trends and share insights on how today’s retailers, restaurants, and other businesses can capitalize on them.
1. Alcohol delivery is on the rise
One of the biggest alcohol trends to emerge in recent years is online ordering. The desire for convenience and safety has pushed many consumers to shop online and have their alcohol delivered.
According to our 2023 Alcohol Online Ordering Trends report, one in ten consumers in the U.S. has ordered alcohol delivery in the past six months. 60% of those surveyed report using on-demand alcohol delivery more than the previous year.
If you’re an alcohol retailer or restaurant and you want to stay relevant to your customer base, consider signing up with an alcohol delivery partner like DoorDash to boost your online presence and reach new customers in your neighborhood.
2. Consumers order alcohol delivery for a number of reasons
While customers first started embracing alcohol delivery during shelter-in-place orders in 2020, they’ve kept up with online ordering for its convenience as well as other benefits.
For the same reasons that consumers have embraced meal delivery, they’ve embraced alcohol delivery. Alcohol shoppers who already know what they want to order may find it easier to browse their favorite beverage brands online than to head down to the local liquor store, fill up a cart, wait in line to check out, and shlep their bags home.
42% of alcohol shoppers surveyed cited comfort, convenience, and time-savings as their reasons for using alcohol delivery services. For some, the delivery itself was the benefit – with 20% citing the ease of not having to carry alcoholic beverages home as their reason for ordering delivery.
Still, others place orders for the fun of it – with 67% reporting that they order alcohol online as a treat. And some are drawn to ordering online for its affordability – with 18% saying they ordered on-demand alcohol delivery to save money.
3. Consumers order alcohol delivery in advance and at the last minute
It’s hard to generalize about how customers are ordering alcohol online — whether it’s a task planned out ahead of time, like grocery shopping, or whether it’s more of an impromptu or spur-of-the-moment decision.
There are all kinds of alcohol shoppers out there. While 24% of surveyed alcohol shoppers order their alcohol a day or two in advance, 57% of orders are same-day delivery. Of those same-day delivery orders, 15% are classified as last-minute or urgent — for example, consumers who are having a party and need to replenish supplies or just don’t want to go out to buy alcohol. The convenience of having it delivered to their door is hard to pass up.
While there are many kinds of alcohol delivery shoppers, one thing we can say about them is they are repeat shoppers. According to our data, of those who have ordered alcohol delivery, 7 in 10 say they order at least monthly. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see how offering alcohol to go might impact retailers' and restaurants’ profit margins.
4. Consumer alcohol tastes run the gamut
With so many types of alcohol to choose from, there’s a wide variety of consumer preferences, from wine trends to elixir cocktails and everything in between. Consumers are drinking all varieties of alcohol.
According to our 2023 Alcohol Online Ordering Trends report, these are the top types of alcohol ordered:
Flavored malt beverages (like White Claw) and hard cider.
Whiskey, bourbon, scotch
Wine and champagne
With something for everyone on their delivery menu, restaurants and retailers can be sure they’re covered.
5. Consumers are embracing new alcohol flavors and combinations
A variety of exotic brands and products have hit the market: fruity alcoholic kombuchas, aromatic seltzers, boozy iced teas, CBD-spiked juices, craft brews, and more. No longer content with the generic beers or classic wines previous generations favored, many of today’s consumers are looking for alcoholic drinks that are original and/or artisanal.
In the world of wine, unique options like orange wine, biodynamic farming, and no-additive wines are trending. And the spirits and liquor market is seeing customers embracing the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, with hard seltzers leading the way.
Valued at $782 million in 2021, the RTD cocktails market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030. One example of a new favorite is SunnyD vodka seltzer, which also capitalizes on the trend towards nostalgic and dessert flavors.
Another category expanding its footprint is low-ABV and non-alcoholic beverages. According to Forbes Magazine, the booze-free drinks market surpassed $11 billion in 2022, driven by consumers who are sober-curious or looking for a healthier lifestyle.
A variety of brands have emerged in response to this trend, such as low-ABV wines, natural wines, and non-alcoholic beers. Consider stocking a handful of low- and no-ABV products so your customers can try them all.
“It's not just about abstinence from alcohol. This movement is also about people who just don’t want to drink as much. They want to enjoy some of the same flavors from alcoholic beverages, but without the hangover or other negative side effects.”
6. Alcohol delivery helps restaurants and retailers drive profits
Since restaurants receive an average of 20 to 25% of revenue from alcohol sales, including alcohol in their delivery offerings can have a major impact on the bottom line.
With supply chain issues and inflation making it difficult for restaurants to maintain revenue, adding alcohol to your menu can drive profitability due to the profit margin on alcohol sales.
Looking at order data, DoorDash found that adding alcohol may increase restaurants’ and grocers’ average customer order values by up to 30% and convenience stores by over 50%.
If you’re considering signing up for convenience and alcohol delivery with DoorDash, do it. DoorDash brings you new customers from outside your regulars, and it’s extra revenue for your business. It’s allowed us to invest in a new refrigeration unit to help keep our delivery orders cold.
A partner that supports you through every alcohol trend
As alcohol delivery trends continue to evolve, it’s important to find the right alcohol partner to drive sales. DoorDash offers a platform that’s continually evolving and growing to meet customers where they are — online, and in your neighborhood.
Plus, with DoorDash’s additional alcohol delivery safety features, alcohol retailers can rest assured that their orders are getting delivered correctly.