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Online consumers search for drinks via ‘needs’ not ‘brands’

Online consumers are looking for drinks to suit their lifestyle choices, rather than via brand selection, according to NielsenIQ.

The adapted shopping behaviour, as detailed by NielsenIQ Client Manager, Kaleigh Theriault in a presentation with ECRM, shows the importance of “discoverability” within the drinks sector.

According to Theriault, statistics show that consumers are increasingly health conscious and looking for low calorie and gluten free items to suit their needs, rather than searching for specific brands.

“Currently, 78% of searches on are unbranded, meaning today’s shoppers are searching for products based on individual needs (ie. low calorie, gluten-free, etc.) and retailers need to further develop their product descriptions and discoverability in order to cater to the growing segment of health-conscious consumers looking for personalisation,” explained Theriault.

In this era of personalisation, the findings suggest that companies marketing drinks products will need to flag common lifestyle needs that their drinks answer to stand out in the crowded online marketplace. Trends that are set to continue, however, are the rise of RTD cocktails as well as the convenience of online shopping habits.

“For the remainder of 2021, we can expect a few key trends to stick. Firstly, the movement towards ready-to-drink cocktails will continue as sales surpassed summer 2020 sales off-premise, and also expanded into on premise channels,” said Theriault, adding: “RTD sales are going to start gaining traction within on premise as consumers view these to be “safer” beverage options,” plus “the winter holidays will pose a prime opportunity for spirit and wine-based cocktails as additional buyers enter the segment and make repeat purchases”.

Theriault reminded that “although e-commerce sales are starting to slow across segments, this will continue to be a highly important channel for the industry and online shoppers will continue to rely on the channel given its convenience, product comparison capabilities and seamlessness”.

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