Georgina Wild of HIM addresses the key priorities for beers, wines and spirits shoppers

Alcohol is the third biggest sales contributor by category within the convenience sector, so it deserves to receive attention from retailers.

As many as 54% of convenience shoppers drink alcohol at home once a week or more, and a further 20% say they do so every month. In addition, more than half (56%) entertain family/friends at home at least once a month.

So what's important to the beers, wines and spirits (BWS) shopper? It actually depends on the category value for money is the priority for beer shoppers; for wine shoppers it is product availability; while shop cleanliness comes top of the list for spirit shoppers. Interestingly, promotions do not feature in the top five most important features, although promotions do have a part to play in improving the value for money perception of a store.

Spirits have been performing solidly through c-stores 43% of c-store owners have seen sales rise year on year, with 36% saying they have remained the same.

Research tells us that 56% of spirits shoppers are buying them to share with others, 62% are buying for a quiet night in, and a further 13% for a specific social gathering.

As many as 37% will begin to consume their spirits within two hours of purchase, with a further 49% saying later today, therefore what is required is not heavy promotion as such, but more occasion-based merchandising, such as party packs, mixers, ice, lemons and limes, and discounted multi-buys for complementary products.

Immediate consumption is also a feature of the wine shopper. A third will start to consume their purchase within the next two hours, rising to 90% for the same day. Almost all will consume their wine at home, although 5% will do so at a friend's house, meaning that all wine that can be chilled, should be chilled. Promotions should encourage customers to trade up, and highlighting wine or Champagne as a gifting opportunity can also drive sales.

When it comes to beer, shoppers are generally loyal, but want value for money. Beer shoppers are visiting on average 4.8 times a week and are visiting for items when needed.

To sum up, it's important to cater for different occasions by pack format and offer effective occasion-based merchandising and promotions.