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Gen Z drinkers less likely to order alcohol online than millennials, and more generational alcohol trends from this Drizly survey

Gen Z drinkers less likely to order alcohol online than millennials, and more generational alcohol trends from this Drizly survey

Craft Brewing Business

By Chris Crowell

October 14, 2019

Drizly, a growing alcohol ecommerce platform, conducted some research on how Americans shop for adult beverages, both in-store and online. Surprisingly, it found that the most digital generation, Gen Z consumers, purchase alcohol from local liquor stores more often than their millennial, Gen X and baby boomer counterparts.

Gen Z also ranks first when it comes to interest in drinking trends, suggesting that their purchasing behavior today may well be a crystal ball for how beer, wine and spirits consumption will look tomorrow. Drizly’s findings came from a survey of over 13,600 Americans of legal drinking age conducted from April-June 2019. 

Drizly also found common ground among generations: for one, a shared desire for more education to help inform their purchases of wine, spirits and beer, in descending order. And while alcohol ecommerce is growing at a rate of 40 percent, and seeing a trend toward repeat usage, the majority of Americans who have purchased alcohol online still prefer to buy in-store.

Still, Drizly predicts consumers will continue to shift their attention to digital, much like recent moves in the food and grocery industries.  

“We’re beginning to see a clearer picture of Gen Z consumers and how they will and won’t change the alcohol industry, from shopping preferences to consumption habits,” said Liz Paquette, Head of Consumer Insights at Drizly. “Like other generations, Gen Z consumers typically stick within the same category across the board, remaining beer drinkers if that is what they’re most familiar with, for example. However, within their preferred category, Gen Z is the generation that is most interested in trying new drinks and learning more about wine in particular. This desire for education provides a window of opportunity for retailers to innovate and educate customers on wine, spirits and beer, whether in person or digitally.”

Survey findings

A Thirst for Education – When it comes to alcohol shopping, knowledge is power. 94 percent of Gen Z respondents, 71 percent of millennial respondents and 61 percent of Gen X/older respondents all crave more knowledge about wine to inform their purchase decisions. Gen Z is most interested in learning more about beer, at 47 percent, besting millennials (38 percent) and Gen X/older (29 percent), suggesting that craft beer’s future could be brighter than currently anticipated, and/or that the recent proliferation in styles has some suds lovers scratching their heads.

What’s Trending – As suppliers innovate and introduce new products at a torrid pace, they have a welcome audience in Gen Z, 49 percent of whom pay attention to drinking trends, followed by millennials (40 percent), and Gen X/older (31 percent), respectively.

Sticking with Go-To Categories – Interest in what may be hot tomorrow isn’t seriously impacting what we’re buying today. Drizly found that almost 60 percent of respondents always or most of the time drink the same type of alcohol, and only five percent are open to regularly trying something new. The finding holds across generations, as Gen Z and millennials are only slightly more likely to try something new on a regular basis (6 percent) than Gen X/older (4 percent).

Online Shopping: Still Taking Shape – Even as online shopping becomes more the norm across major consumer goods categories, digital alcohol shopping is still a work in progress. 50 percent of respondents who have bought alcohol online still visit local liquor stores to make the majority of their purchases. And this behavior continues even with online purchasers: 62 percent of consumers that purchase from a retailer for the first time ever using the Drizly app say they are likely to shop the same retailer again in-store.