Expert tips for increasing basket size this Christmas Posted by: Alana House December 06, 2018 December easily generates the highest level of liquor sales - 13% of annual sales - of any month for the entire year. Shoppers buy more alcohol in the lead up to Christmas to reward themselves, for parties and functions, to stock up for the festive season, and for gifting and loading up to take on holidays. Lighter, easy drinking, sessionable styles of alcohol are more commonly purchased, such as sparkling wine and contemporary beer, driven by the desire to enjoy longer sessions with family and friends. "Gifting and trading up drive a change in the mix of alcohol purchased in the lead up to Christmas," said Stephen Wilson, IRI Liquor Channel Manager. "Beer becomes slightly less important and spirits more important as shoppers focus on either rewarding themselves or for gifting for family and friends." According to Wilson, the liquor trends seen during 2018 will continue to resonate with drinkers in the lead up to Christmas. “Beer drinkers are moving towards more contemporary offerings and craft Australian beers as they search for sessionable, 'better for me' drinks at the same time as they look to reward themselves as the year draws to a close," he said. "Wine drinkers will move away from heavier varietals and seek out lighter wine styles like Rose, Prosecco and spritz styles. We also expect to see an increase in sales for the relatively new phenomenon, canned wine, due to the convenience factor and suitability for outdoor activities. "Spirits sales will be influenced by the explosion of interest in gin and liquors that help drinkers recreate the experience of enjoying their favourite cocktail at home, gifting is also a big factor increasing sales of single malt whisky and premium bourbons. Australia aligns with global trends Australia is also seeing the "green shoots" of trends that have appeared in the US and UK markets recently. "Sour beers, flavoured sparkling wines, spritz cocktails, pink spirits, artisan gin, Aperol and no/low alcohol beer are all finding favour with local drinkers," Wilson said. The same drivers of exploration, innovation from manufacturers, the “Instagramable” nature of coloured gin and cocktails are attracting drinkers globally and the local market is no exception. So what does this mean for retailers? Premiumisation will continue, with drinkers looking for better quality liquor to reward themselves reflecting the overall trend for 2018. "To take advantage of the peak selling season retailers need to ensure that they have availability and ample stock weight of 'hot' brands that deliver choice and hit the cues that drinkers are looking for at Christmas time to maximise the opportunity," said Wilson. "While there needs to be availability of and easy access to 'traditional' trusted brands range, layout and shelf space decisions become even more critical to satisfy shopper choice and increase basket size. "Finally embracing one of the many e-commerce platforms as part of an omni-channel strategy is key to reaching shoppers, the majority of whom will research on line before making a purchasing decision. "This strategy will satisfy shopper needs and not only provide drinkers with their alcohol of choice for Christmas 2018, but also drive increased sales for retailers," he concluded.