Convenience channel poised to tap into low/no alcohol opportunity

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With more consumers reducing their alcohol consumption since the COVID-19 pandemic, convenience stores are well positioned to tap into the booming demand for low/no alcohol, a new research has found.

According to the Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) of market researchers Lumina Intelligence, convenience stores are the most popular channel for buying low/no alcohol products, ahead of supermarkets and discounters.

The top three drivers to purchase in convenience store shoppers are prices, promotions and trying something new.

Health is the top reason consumers choose low/no alcohol options overall, with 31 per cent citing health reasons for the shift. A quarter of shoppers say they buy these drinks to try something new and 17 per cent found them easy to consume at home. For 14 per cent of shoppers, cost is the major reason and they consider the drinks as a cheaper option to alcohol.

While 38 per cent of consumers have reduced their alcohol consumption since the pandemic began in March, according to CTP, this figure goes up to 42 per cent among 18-24 year olds and 46 per cent for 25-34s.

The 18-24s are 14 per cent more likely to choose health as a key reason than the average consumer. They are also 51 per cent more likely to be deterred by price and instead choose cheaper low/no option.

Variety is a key motivation for shoppers under 44, with these shoppers more likely to consume low/no drinks because they want to ‘try something new’.

“With health high on the agenda, a significant proportion of consumers have cut back on their alcohol consumption since the outbreak in March. This highlights a significant opportunity for retailers to tap into, particularly within the convenience channel, which attracts a higher visit frequency than other channels,” commented Sarah Coleman, insight and communications director at Lumina Intelligence.

The research also stresses the need for clear merchandising, point of sale and packaging as some consumers define low/no as BWS and others define it as a premium soft drink.

Equipping staff with category knowledge which they can share with shoppers would also help to engage shoppers who are open to recommendations.

“With younger consumers driving the growth in the Low 2 No market, health and price are two key areas to focus on. Highlighting the health benefits of low alcohol alternatives will attract shoppers and finding a competitive price point will be key to driving sales,” Coleman added.