YouGov, one of the world's leading full-service market research companies, surveyed to understand the consumer sentiment and interest towards the availability of alcoholic beverages through the e-commerce channel. The extensive survey received around 2,000 responses from consumers across five states.
The survey's findings brought to life the fact that 97 per cent consumers have faced challenges while buying alcohol. Responses to the survey highlighted safety issues, cramped or crowded stores, general inconvenience in terms of time, effort, and lack of variety as top factors contributing to the underwhelming experience of buying alcoholic beverages from traditional outlets.
Therefore, it is unsurprising to see that 57 per cent consumers say they are likely to purchase alcohol from online platforms if made available in their states.
Consumers in Maharashtra, one of the few progressive states where the government has permitted home delivery of alcohol beverages, have swiftly hopped onto this bandwagon, with 90 per cent stating that they have had a positive shopping experience and generates an additional revenue stream for state governments and the entire industry as a whole.
About 7 per cent consumers have faced challenges when buying alcohol and Maharashtra leads the way in-home delivery of alcoholic beverages, with one in five respondents indicating this as their most often used mode.
Safety and convenience have been cited as key reasons to prefer the e-commerce channel to buy alcoholic beverages. The online channel offers consumers more choice leading to innovation within the category and incremental revenue opportunities for state governments COVID19 has fast-tracked the digitization of businesses in India
The survey highlighted that 58 per ent of the consumers log onto e-commerce channels in general due to the availability of a diverse range of products, opening inroads for high-decibel opportunities in product innovation and premiumization.
From a state-to-state perspective, 62 per cent respondents from Maharashtra showed a higher preference of purchasing alcohol through existing home delivery channels, closely followed by Haryana and Chandigarh at 59 percent where consumers are keen to order through e-commerce channels.
This highlights the potential Maharashtra has to drive this growth while also paving the way for more states to follow the home delivery or online model of alcohol purchase based on its success.
Fueling this change, as we move forward, 61 per cent consumers indicate that they would want to continue using e-commerce platforms even post the pandemic, and 52 per cent noted that e-commerce platforms have been of enormous help during the pandemic when one can avoid stepping out to crowded stores.
Another interesting point revealed by the survey was the alcohol drinking preferences of consumers where Beer emerged as the favoured drink of choice where 43 per cent respondents indicated a preference for the beverage.
The survey findings indicate that the Indian consumer and the alcohol beverage industry is waiting for policymakers to offer the ecosystem and the much-needed efficiency by adopting international best practices through a revolutionary shift towards e-commerce.
Globally as well, the pandemic has catapulted the value of the e-commerce channel for alcohol. Estimates by IWSR, the leading source of data and analysis on the beverage alcohol market, has revealed that the beverage alcohol e-commerce value has grown by 42 per cent in 2020 and will reach $24 billion.
Given India's favourable demographics, the e-commerce model for alcohol could prove to be fruitful as it opens new revenue streams, promotes moderation, offers accessibility and availability to more choice, and subsequently, innovation.
(With inputs from PTI)
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