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Tried and True or Adventurous: Do Consumers Stick to Their Favorite Alcohol Brands?
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Tried and True or Adventurous: Do Consumers Stick to Their Favorite Alcohol Brands?

While some consumers like to stick with what they know, others are more adventurous—even in the alcoholic beverage aisle. In February 2015, Nielsen fielded an English-only survey of more than two thousand adults in an attempt to determine which alcoholic beverage drinkers are the most open to trying new brands—beer, wine or spirit drinkers.

It appears that those who drink wine are the most brand adventurous—19% have bought 10 or more wine brands in the past year. Comparatively, only 15% of beer drinkers and a mere 5% of spirit drinkers have tried the same number of brands. Meanwhile, spirit drinkers were most likely to stick to their favorites: 60% of spirit drinkers, 48% of beer drinkers and 43% of wine drinkers have purchased only one to three brands of their alcoholic beverage of choice in the past year.

Flexible Frequent Shoppers

The study also found that the more frequently a consumer purchases an alcoholic beverage type, the more willing he or she is to branch out into different brands. For example, 19% of wine drinkers who purchase several times a year have tried more than 10 brands in the past year, whereas 33% of wine drinkers who purchase once a week have tried more than 10 brands in the past year. And this trend follows across beverage types. Only 5% of spirit drinkers who purchase several times per year have tried more than 10 brands in the past year, but 12% of spirit drinkers who purchase at least once per week have tried more than 10 brands in the past year. Fifteen percent of beer drinkers who purchase several times a year have tried more than 10 beer brands in the past year. Yet, 22% of beer drinkers who purchase at least once per week have bought more than 10 brands in the past year.

Craft Beer Drinkers Like to Experiment

While beer drinkers may lag a bit behind wine drinkers as the most adventurous, those who drink craft beers are much more likely to purchase a variety of brands. Almost one-third (32%) of all craft beer drinkers who buy at least several times a year have bought seven or more brands in the past year. But younger, frequent craft beer drinkers are even more brand “promiscuous,” as 37% have purchased seven or more beer brands in the past year.

Youthful Zeal

In fact, across beverage types, age plays a big role in consumers’ likelihood to purchase a broader variety of brands. Almost one-quarter (23%) of wine drinkers aged 21-34 have purchased 10 or more wine brands in the past year versus less than 20% of all wine drinkers aged 21 and older. Almost 10% of spirit drinkers aged 21-34 have tried more than 10 brands in the past year, compared with only 5% of all spirit drinkers 21 and older. Similarly, younger beer drinkers are more apt to purchase a broader set of brands. The tendency for younger drinkers for trying a broader set of brands is likely a result of their more adventurous nature, as well as the likelihood that their “favorite” products may have not as yet been established.

Offering the right assortment on store shelves is a critical element in meeting consumer/shopper needs. Within beverage alcohol specifically, there is increasing fragmentation requiring a broader product set to satisfy these needs, particularly among younger legal drinking age shoppers. Understanding how people purchase different alcoholic beverage categories can help increase brand loyalty or reach brand switchers. Knowing who you’re courting and what drives their behavior will improve your business results.  

Methodology

From Feb. 12-17, 2015, Nielsen fielded an English-language Quick Query Omnibus Survey of 2,022 adults aged 21+. Approximately 1,000 drink either beer, wine or spirits at least several times per year. Respondents were asked to answer, “Approximately how many different brands have you purchased in the past year?”