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61% of total U.S. alcohol ad spend is digital

Illustration of bottle pouring into shopping cart shot glasses, each adorned with lemon wedges showing a plus icon.

Sarah Kim / Shutterstock / The Current

Here’s the thing:

Spirits marketers are increasingly turning to digital to reach U.S. consumers, according to recent data from Standard Media Index (SMI).

The SMI findings reveal that digital captures more than half of all U.S. alcohol ad spend (61%), with the category seeing 20% growth in connected TV spend and an 18% boost in programmatic spend year over year. The overall spend on category inventory is up 5% from the prior year. Conversely, linear TV’s share of the space dipped 11% in 2023.

Data debrief:

In fall 2023, The Trade Desk Intelligence and YouGov surveyed more than 2,000 people over age 18 in the U.S. to understand their shopping behaviors in the CPG category, as well as across 11 CPG sub-categories such as alcohol.

The research shows the frequency with which U.S. consumers buy booze. Indeed, 49% of Americans surveyed are regular alcohol buyers, having made a purchase in the past three months, while 35% reported buying liquor in the past month, and 23% of respondents said they shopped for spirits more than once a month.

Delivering a slight uptick in product-loyalty levels year over year, U.S. shoppers are most loyal to their beer brands at 58%, with wine and whiskey tying at 37%, vodka earning 36%, and tequila rounding out the list at 27%.

Why it matters:

While it’s no surprise the majority of U.S. imbibers shop in store for immediacy and convenience, a recent report from eMarketer projects alcohol e-commerce sales are primed for long-term growth.

The shifts in consumer habits spurred by the pandemic could continue to raise opportunities for spirits marketers. Alcohol delivery, of course, will never be as essential as online grocery, but the category is gaining in popularity as some regulations around shipment and delivery loosen and business models evolve, the report indicates. Walmart, for example, now offers alcohol delivery in 23 states.

Forecasting a 12% increase in U.S. alcohol e-commerce sales over the next four years ($7.4 billion in 2024 versus $10.3 billion in 2028), eMarketer cites an April 2023 survey from PowerReviews, which found nearly a quarter of U.S. digital-grocery buyers purchased booze via digital grocery platforms (23%). That action is up six points from respondents who answered the same survey on alcohol buying in 2021 (17%) and a three-point increase from 2022 (20%).

Graph showing 49% of Americans surveyed are regular alcohol buyers.

The Current is owned and operated by The Trade Desk, Inc.