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  • Writer's pictureVik F.

New Survey Sheds Light on American Alcohol Purchasing Preferences and Shipping Concerns

A new survey conducted by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), in collaboration with Morning Consult, has revealed insightful data about the alcohol purchasing habits and shipping concerns of American consumers. Engaging over 2,200 U.S. adults during a three-day period in August 2023, the survey provides a detailed look into how Americans are buying alcohol and their sentiments towards current shipping practices.


A striking revelation from the survey is the American preference for purchasing alcohol in person. The majority of consumers opt to buy their alcohol from grocery stores (65%), local liquor stores (64%), and restaurants and bars (47%). This trend highlights the continued importance of physical retail locations and the value placed on the in-person shopping experience, suggesting a need for retailers to enhance in-store engagements such as tasting programs and personal interactions.


However, the survey also delves into the growing sphere of online alcohol purchasing, uncovering some pressing concerns. Notably, about one in four adults who purchase alcohol through direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels report not having their IDs checked upon delivery. This lack of compliance in ID verification, which occurs 25% of the time according to the survey, raises significant questions about the effectiveness of age verification processes in online sales.


Public safety concerns are a major theme in the survey results, with a substantial 76% of respondents worried about the age verification process when purchasing alcohol online. This concern is even more pronounced among those who have previously purchased from an online vendor or directly from producers, with 87% and 82% respectively expressing apprehension. The risk of underage access to alcohol and the absence of age verification at the time of delivery are among the top worries.


The survey also highlights a strong consumer expectation that online alcohol vendors, manufacturers, and delivery platforms should adhere to the same regulatory standards as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers. This sentiment, shared by 85% of respondents, emphasizes the need for regulatory parity across different purchasing platforms.


Interestingly, the survey reveals a bipartisan consensus on the concerns related to alcohol shipping, with both Democrat (90%) and Republican (86%) respondents expressing similar levels of unease. This finding suggests that concerns about alcohol shipping cut across political lines, pointing to a broader public agreement on the issues at hand.


These findings have significant implications for the alcohol industry. While the preference for in-person purchases underscores the importance of enhancing physical retail experiences, the concerns about online shipping highlight the need for improved regulatory compliance and public safety measures. Addressing these issues will be crucial for the industry to balance the convenience of online sales with the responsibility of preventing underage access and ensuring consumer safety.


In conclusion, the WSWA and Morning Consult survey offers a comprehensive view of the current landscape of alcohol purchasing in the U.S., shedding light on consumer preferences and pinpointing areas that require attention and improvement in the industry. These insights are invaluable for stakeholders as they navigate the evolving dynamics of alcohol sales and distribution.


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