A new report from Rabobank has estimated that alcohol brands and retailers are missing out on billions in online sales opportunities annually.
While alcohol e-commerce sales in the US have reached $2.6 billion in 2019, companies are still missing out on billions, according to Rabobank.
Titled 2020 Alcohol Ecommerce Playbook, the report argues that industry leaders must consider the future importance of online shopping for younger generations entering their prime spending years and how online experiences influence consumer behaviour in-store.
Alcohol is the fastest growing category in grocery, but its share of online sales is nearly 90% lower than its share of in-store sales, says Rabobank.
With more than 10% of all grocery expected to move online over the next four years, grocers without an alcohol e-commerce strategy will miss out on $3.7 billion in alcohol sales by 2023, according to the report.
“If they only look at current sales, industry executives will severely underestimate the value of their ecommerce opportunity,” said Bourcard Nesin, a beverage analyst at Rabobank and author of the report.
Nesin added: “There is no doubt consumers will move their beverage spending online. The question is whether beverage companies and retailers have the vision to invest proactively in their ecommerce capabilities.”
Rabobank categorises alcohol e-commerce into four channels, each with distinct challenges and opportunities: online grocery, alcohol marketplaces, direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine online, and online liquor stores.
The report suggests that companies should ensure the online buying process is a seamless experience for consumers to maximise sales opportunities.
Nesin said: “Consumers are rapidly moving their food and beverage spending online, creating new shopping habits and brand relationships in the digital world.
“If the alcohol industry does not act quickly, their brands will be left out of this important relationship-building process. E-commerce, rather than a source for growth, could then become a wedge separating alcohol brands from their consumers.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019