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New and Changing Sales Trends in the Liquor Industry

Many businesses remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including liquor stores. And those who chose to keep their doors open have been busier than ever.

Our small business experts pulled SKU-level sales data from a small sample of liquor store customers for the months of February, March, and April 2020. This sales data showed new trends that reflect consumer changes throughout the crisis. 

Interested in learning more? We’ll walk you through the data we collected and share what it means for the liquor industry.

Diving into Liquor Sales Data During the Pandemic

As mentioned, we analyzed POS Nation liquor store customers’ data over a three-month timeframe. 

At said liquor stores, our team found that the average price of a product purchased increased from $12.95 in February to $13.37 in March, and to $13.60 in April.

We then put products into three categories by price:
  • Low-priced products are under $13
  • Mid-priced products are $13.01 to $25
  • High-priced products are anything above $25.01

When looking at the portion of total product sales by category, we found that:

  • Low-priced products increased sales volume by 9% compared to a total increase in sales volume of 20%
  • Low-priced products went from 60% of sales volume to 54% of sales volume
  • Mid-priced product sales volume increased 36% 
  • Mid-priced products went from 32% of sales volume to 36% of sales volumes
  • High-priced product sales volume 40%

The biggest winners overall? Cases of beer and 750 MLs (profit margin are in the high teens) and 1.75 MLs of Tito’s, Crown Royal, and various vodkas (both high- and low-priced).

The biggest losers, however, were any 50 ML and 100 ML bottles (profit margin is around 40%). 

2006_LiquorSalesTrends_Embed_2 (1)Tracking business data like this is vital. For liquor store owners, it helps them make better decisions around which products, brands, and sizes to restock. 

It’s much easier to get a hold of this data if you have a POS system with business reporting and analysis capabilities that are integrated with your inventory management and tracking. To see this feature in action, schedule a live software demo.

Data Takeaways for the Liquor Industry

At the end of the day, our team doesn’t believe that people are necessarily trading up or down — but the variable that has changed is who is buying.

50 to 100 ML bottles are typically purchased by low-income earners and event-driven buyers. With money being tight and tailgates, concerts, and other large gatherings cancelled, it’s reasonable to believe buying from these groups is down.

If you account for the impact of 50 ML bottles, then low-end products are somewhat on par with the mid- and high-tier products. If people were “trading up”, we’d see a decline in low-end products and an increase in comparable high-end products. Instead, the increase in mid- to high-end products appears incremental.

Our hypothesis is that customers buying 750 MLs of Tito’s and Crown Royal are white collar. They didn’t trade up or down to these products, but they’re likely buying more than normal.

New call-to-actionLastly, people aren’t buying as frequently. Several of our liquor stores have regular customers who come in to buy smaller items almost daily. But when you’re on lockdown and trying to reduce the number of trips you take to the store, you’ll likely buy larger units less frequently.

If you’d typically buy a pint every day, or a couple of 50 ML bottles, you might be buying a handle every two weeks instead. And rather than pick up a six-pack of beer on the way home every day or two, customers are now buying a case once a week.

Working With Small Business Experts

Our team is consistently analyzing small business data and diving into industry trends to help our liquor stores grow and succeed.

We also offer a complete liquor UPC list available for download. See how easy management is with a preloaded liquor inventory!

If you have any questions or you’re interested in a custom point of sale solution, get in touch with our product specialists at 1-877-727-3548 or sales@posnation.com. You can also take a free tour of our retail software by scheduling a live demo.


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