Independents make gains in retail alcohol sales

Independent retailers have grown their share of the retail alcohol market in the past year, Roy Morgan has found.

Supermarkets still dominate retail alcohol with 72.9 per cent of what is a $15.4 billion market. But, over the past 12 months, their share has fallen from 74.7 per cent.

At the same time, the share going to independent retailers has increased from 9.8 per cent to 12.9 per cent. This represents a gain of more than 130,000 customers compared with a gain of just 25,000 for supermarkets.

These are the latest findings from the ‘Roy Morgan Alcohol Retail Currency Report’.

Supermarkets and hotel bottle shops losing their fizz

Over the past 12 months, hotel bottle shops such as Bottlemart, The Bottle-O, Thirsty Camel and Duncan’s Bottle Shop and supermarket retailers including the Woolworths Group (Woolworths Liquor, BWS and Dan Murphy’s), the Coles Group (LiquorLand, First Choice and Vintage Cellars) and other supermarkets (such as IGA and Aldi), had market share losses of 1.8 percentage points (pps).

However, the loss of customers for hotel bottle shops was bigger, with a drop of 235,000. Supermarkets, on the other hand, gained 25,000.

The major gains in customers went to independent retailers such as Cellarbrations, Local Liquor and Mac’s Liquor. Yet the minor players such as wine clubs and duty free are at least holding their own. In fact, some are even showing small gains in market share, Roy Morgan found.

Coles Group raises a glass (and its game)

Bucking the trend was Coles Group, which was the only major retailer to gain market share. This rose from 16.5 per cent a year ago to 18.1 per cent now.

Woolworths’ market share, by contrast, shrank by 2.2 pps due to a 4.2 pps drop in the Dan Murphy’s share. However, Woolies remains the clear leader overall with 48.3 per cent of the market.

The smaller supermarkets all lost market share, too. IGA was down 0.5 pps (to 2.9 per cent) and Aldi was down 0.3 pps (to 2.8 per cent).

Changing buying behaviour

According to Roy Morgan Industry Communications Director Norman Morris, the latest figures reveal an interesting battle for market share.

“While the big two supermarket chains are competing, it appears to be largely at the expense of Aldi, IGA and other supermarkets,” he said. “All of them lost share over the past 12 months.

“Despite the dominance of the supermarkets, the independent retailers have shown a market-share gain of 3.1 pps (to 12.9 per cent) over the past year. They’re now ahead of hotel bottle shops, which have fallen by 1.8 pps to 9.2 per cent.

“Our research shows a number of drivers of buying behaviour in this market. These include proximity to other shops, low prices, an easily browseable range, special offers, expert staff knowledge and good service.”

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