Report: 1 In 10 Alcohol Buyers Purchase Bottles Online

According to The Harris Poll, 7 in 10 Americans aged 21 and over (68%) are “regular buyers” of alcohol, while 1 in 10 of this group has bought alcohol online in the past six months.

The Harris Poll surveyed 2,060 U.S. adults aged 21-and-up between November 9 and 11, 2016. Complete results of the study can be found here.

Among those regular buyers who bought alcohol online at least once during the past six months, the percentage purchased online vs. in-store was highest for wine (42%), with beer (29%) and spirits (35%) trailing.


Compared to regular buyers who only purchase alcohol in-store, online buyers tend to be higher-earning, younger, male, married, and employed full-time.

Thinking about their most recent online alcohol purchase, nearly half of online buyers (48%) said their plan was to consume their purchase within that week, while 1 in 4 (25%) planned to consume (or start to consume) their purchase the day they received it.


Though they may buy online, half (50%) of online buyers receive the alcohol they purchased by going and picking it up at a store – about 2 in 5 (41%) get it delivered within hours, 1 in 3 (34%) say it gets delivered within 1-2 days, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) receive the delivery more than 2 days from purchase.

A significant proportion of online buyers – especially online buyers of wine – expect the amount of alcohol they purchase online to increase in the next year, while 11% of in-store only buyers say they are planning to give online purchasing a try in the upcoming year.

“While online purchasing of alcohol may be lagging that of other categories today, we expect it will continue to grow rapidly as more e-commerce channels are made available and online barriers are overcome, and as consumers become more accustomed to buying their alcohol online, especially to suit various consumption occasions,” says Danny Brager, SVP of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice, in a press release.

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S.

Top graphic courtesy of The Harris Poll.


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