5 current consumer drinking trends and how to embrace them

The only constant thing in life is change, and consumer drinking trends are no exception. Although the alcohol beverage industry has met a fair few challenges over the past two years, it has shown resilience and responsiveness.



 So, how have the recent changes in consumer behaviour affected the wine and alcoholic beverages space, and how can those in the industry embrace these shifts?


5 current consumer drinking trends


1. On-premise demand remains high

Summary reports from 2021 show consumers have been hugely eager to return to socialising (and high-tempo drinking). Pent-up demand catapulted on-premise sales across Europe and the UK in the third quarter of 2021.

2. Wine sales are up from 2020, but still lagging

Data from IWSR data released in October 2021 show global wine sales by volume are up around +5% in the first half of 2021 when compared to the same period in 2020, although category volume sales remain below 2019 levels. 

In the case of wine specifically, it seems consumers are choosing to drink less (but what they drink is of higher quality). Wine Intelligence data reveals 39% of consumers in key global markets are consciously moderating their wine drinking.

3. Shifting taste preferences to cocktails, spirits & novel flavours

Apart from fluctuating demand, drink choices are changing too. We’ve been seeing growing interest in cocktails and spirits, especially among 18-34-year-olds. The wine demographic, however, is ageing, with declining interest from younger consumers. But, there’s hope on the horizon to engage them! Recent research shows two out of three 18 to 34 year-olds like to keep up to date with the latest trends, so innovation is key to surviving and capturing that younger audience. If wine suppliers turn to creative marketing strategies and bold new flavours, it could work wonders, much as it did for gin and craft beer.

4. Apps driving up sales of all types of alcoholic beverages

The record-breaking use of home delivery apps in 2021 also spurred e-commerce sales of every type of alcoholic beverage. UberEats, Deliveroo, Doordash and Drizly are prime examples of driving up alcoholic beverage sales, according to IWSR. As establishments continue to face unpredictable restrictions, this trend of at-home drinking remains high.

5. Rising demand for high-quality wine

Although wine might be seen as a luxury product, the demand for higher quality and more expensive wines rose during 2021. It seems that consumer budgets otherwise spent on going out to wine and dine were reallocated to better quality food and beverages to consume at home.



Embracing changing consumer trends


How can alcoholic beverage suppliers cope with these unpredictable fluctuations and new taste and consumption trends? By turning to groupage shipping.

Groupage is an ideal solution for the wine and beverage sector, here’s why:

  • Maintains a lean inventory. Groupage shipping makes sure that you won’t end up holding stock for long periods. Using Hillebrand’s pallet-sized insulation liners you could protect your goods on-premises as well as on their journey as they shield the wines from extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Flexibility to respond to new taste trends. Alcoholic beverage suppliers can offer their customers new labels, flavours or vintages as they hit the market. In doing so, they can keep up with the hottest trends rather than being forced to sell older stock at a reduced price to clear it out of the warehouse and make space for new shipments.
  • Redirect or free up funds. Groupage shipping also means fewer funds tied up in warehousing costs or spent on the cost of shipping a full container. Having that extra capital free to manage everyday business more comfortably or invest in innovative marketing campaigns, branding or flavours will help suppliers stay ahead of and even spearhead taste trends.


Groupage with Hillebrand


Hillebrand’s beverage-only groupage service is ideal for moving frequent small volumes of bottles. Frequent departures on multiple shipping routes and from strategic hubs around the globe mean your bottles get to where they need to be as quickly as possible. 



Groupage shipping with Hillebrand means you’ll benefit from a lean inventory and a liberated cash flow to empower innovation to stay on the rapidly evolving consumer trends of the moment. Moreover, you’ll better preserve the quality and freshness of your beverages. These times aren’t easy, but groupage shipping is one way that suppliers can help deal with upheavals to their supply chains.

To discover more about groupage with Hillebrand