Nielsen insight: all drinks shoppers are not the same

Christmas now feels like a distant memory. The tree is down, the leftover turkey is gone and the phrase “new year, new me” has been bandied about one time too many. But we’re going to revisit the festive period just once more as it is such an important period for off-trade drinks sales. In the 11 weeks to December 29 shoppers spent £129 million more on alcohol than they did during the same period in 2017, a rise of 2%, and £245 million more than they did in Christmas 2016.

Reaching shoppers with the right advertising mix and great product availability are crucial at Christmas. 

This can be challenging, as data from the Nielsen Homescan panel and our Nielsen Media Impact results show that there is no single average alcohol shopper. 

After all, you wouldn’t buy a round in the pub without asking which drink, brand, flavour, each individual preferred. 

By using the lessons from Christmas, we can begin to understand how and where to reach specific alcohol buyers to gain the upper hand, not just in the Christmas period, but at other key seasonal times throughout the year.

If we take a look in detail at different drinks categories at Christmas period we begin to see more clearly how not every off-trade shopper is the same. At Christmas, the average overall alcohol buyer tends to be more affluent, mature and from smaller, two-member households. 

Beer shoppers, however, tend to be from larger households with children, and are less affluent and younger than the average alcohol shopper. Beer drinkers watch less TV than other alcohol shoppers, and when they do, the top channels they’re watching include E4 and Sky One. Beer shoppers are more likely to be found online on sites such as Ebay, Facebook community pages, Linked In and You Tube. 

It is probably no surprise that Champagne shoppers tend to come from a more affluent households. They are a smaller group, with a high number in the 35-44 age bracket. However, it may surprise you that Champagne drinkers like to watch Dave, along with Sky One and E4, and the online sites they’re most likely to browse include Amazon, BBC News and Twitter. 

Gin shoppers tend to come from more affluent, older, smaller households and there are a higher proportion in northern parts of the UK:  north east England, Lancashire, the Borders area and Scotland. Gin shoppers spend more time watching TV than Champagne and beer drinkers, with ITV2, Dave and E4 among their favourite channels. Gin shoppers can be found online on sites such as Amazon and Ebay. 

The vodka shopper tends to be found in less affluent, smaller households, typically aged between 35 and 44, again with higher numbers in northern parts of the UK, especially central and northern Scotland. Vodka drinkers watch less TV than others and instead are much more likely to be found online on sites such as You Tube, Facebook Messenger, Ebay, Instagram and Twitter.

Wine shoppers share some similarities with gin drinkers as they are generally from more affluent households and 45 years old or more. But when it comes to the media that they consume they are viewing more content online than on TV, and can be found on sites such as Amazon, IMDB, Trip Advisor and Ebay. When they do watch TV, BBC News and Comedy Central are favoured channels. 

By taking a close look at a few main drinks categories we can begin to see the diversity of types of shoppers and the range and variation of media they consume. It’s clear that a one-size fits all approach, specifically during the crucial Christmas trading period, is not guaranteed to get till ringing.

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