Woolworths accounts for over 50% of off-premise alcohol spend

By Andy Young, TheShout and Keith Berg


The latest figures released in the Roy Morgan Alcohol Retail Currency Report claim that nearly 75 per cent of dollars spent on packaged alcohol in Australia are spent in supermarkets and that the Woolworths Group holds 50.1 per cent of the total dollar spend in an average week.

The report, which is based on in-depth interviews with 3650 Australians who have recently bought packaged alcohol, covers the purchase of all alcoholic beverages for off premise consumption by adult Australians. It includes purchases made in stores, over the phone, from a mail order or a wine club, duty free and online.

In total 74.3 per cent of Australians who purchased alcohol in an average seven days bought from a supermarket group (includes all supermarket and grocery stores plus the stand alone retailers owned by the supermarket groups such as Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Liquorland, First Choice and Vintage Cellars), compared to 11.4 per cent who purchased from a Hotel Bottle Shop, 9.7 per cent who bought from an independent retailer, 4.1 per cent who bought from a Wine Club, and 0.4 per cent who bought from duty free.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said: “Supermarkets have long been the market leader for the retailing of packaged alcohol, yet hotel bottle shops, independent retailers, wine clubs and duty free stores still find their market. Roy Morgan has the power to analyse customers across all of these retailers and identify the driving factors of their decision making for packaged alcohol purchases.”

The survey also found that Woolworths Group (including Woolworths, Dan Murphy’s, and BWS) increased its market share of the alcohol retail market by 1.5 per cent in the 12 months to March 2018, to a total of 50.1 per cent of all packaged alcohol.

Dan Murphy’s had the biggest increase of share of market for Woolworths Group, up 1.2 per cent in the 12 months to March 2018.

According to Roy Morgan the Coles Group saw a small decline in share of market for Alcohol retail, with the decline attributed to small gains in share for Liquorland and Vintage Cellars and a drop of 1.2 per cent in share of market at First Choice.

Levine added: “Woolworths Group now has over half of all dollars spent on packaged alcohol in an average seven day period. This is largely due to the recent success of Dan Murphy’s, as well as the underperformance of Coles Group’s First Choice stores in the last 12 months.

“The Alcohol Retail Currency Report is an accurate and consistent measure of adult Australians’ spend, attitudes and behaviour across all off premise outlets including hotels, supermarkets and other licensed retailers. It also includes online purchasing, wine clubs and duty free.

In the Roy Morgan Single Source survey of 50,000 Australians each year (including over 40,000 Australians over 18 years of age), respondents are asked the total amount they spend on packaged alcoholic beverages in the last seven days.

The Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has long argued that its members should be given the opportunity to sell alcohol, as convenience stores in many countries overseas do.

“It would allow stores to offer consumers choice, as well as the convenience of buying beer or wine at times and in locations that suit them,” said AACS CEO Mr Jeff Rogut. “We are not suggesting that alcohol would be sold around the clock, but rather at times similar to other local outlets selling alcohol. This opportunity would generate approximately $600million in sales for the industry as well as open up competition and employment opportunities for alcohol specialists which are currently not in the industry.”

C&I agrees with Mr Rogut that it really is time for state governments to approach this topic with a sense of realism and maturity rather than supporting the large retailers who have a monopoly hold on alcohol sales in Australia.

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