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Covid propels delivered drinks market into the mainstream

Published:  16 February, 2021

Lockdown is giving the on-trade and suppliers a chance to claim share of the delivered drinks market from supermarkets, according to CGA’s latest consumer research.   

The 2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast revealed an upswing in delivered drinks during the latest lockdown, although the market still remains much smaller than hot food deliveries.  

One in eight (12%) consumers in Britain ordered alcoholic drinks for delivery over the 2020 festive period, with half of those doing so via supermarket websites, while another third (34%) used specialist alcohol sites. 

Numbers ordering through suppliers (21%), delivery platforms like Deliveroo (17%) and directly from a pub, bar or restaurant (14%) were much lower. 

But with more than half (54%) of consumers ordering alcohol delivery in December doing so more than in previous years, CGA said there was a growing market to be won by suppliers and on-trade operators if they could provide “compelling reasons” to buy.

The delivered drinks market has been growing for a while now, but Covid-19 restrictions have propelled it into the mainstream,” says Rachel Weller, CGA’s head of consumer research and marketing.

“Whether for treats or low-tempo occasions, or simply because they are missing visits out, more and more consumers are adding drinks to their food orders. Even when people can get back to the on premise, pubs, bars, restaurants and suppliers will still have a great chance to win at-home as well as out-of-home sales if they can get their omnichannel strategies right,” she said. 

Previous CGA research has set out the scale of opportunity in the delivered drinks market, and shown that the trend is echoed in other countries including Australia and China.

With two thirds (69%) of the consumers in Britain who ordered drink or food for delivery over Christmas 2020 planning to do so throughout 2021, CGA predicted that the domestic market was “similarly set to flourish” well beyond the end of the current lockdown. 

The report also showed that consumers ordering drinks for delivery tend to be highly engaged with the on-trade when it is open.

Well over half (58%) drank out weekly before the pandemic – nine percentage points above the average. Men, affluent white collar professionals and city centre residents all over-index on alcohol deliveries too, it found. 

CGA’s ‘2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast’ is based on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,000 on-trade consumers.