Analysis: The Resurgence of Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Pattern Data Science

December 20, 2021

To say that the past year and a half have been stressful times would be an understatement. And while many people dealt with that stress by picking up a new hobby or trying to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough, many Americans turned to another method to take the edge off: drinking.

According to a 2020 study, overall frequency of alcohol consumption increased by about 14% from 2019 to 2020. Survey respondents in that survey reported drinking alcohol on more days of every week as well as increases in the number of drinks they had.

With the new year approaching, there’s no doubt that many Americans have “cut back on drinking” high on their resolutions for 2022, especially after what the last two years have looked like. So we wanted to learn more about the potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on our drinking habits and how things are trending heading into the new year.

Are Americans feeling more inspired to sober up after a couple years of stress drinking? Or are we drinking more than ever before? Or are we seeing a rise in non-alcoholic beverages and “mocktails” this year?

We dove deep into our data to see if we could uncover any insight into how COVID-19 may have impacted America’s drinking habits, how 2021 looked, and what that might mean for 2022.

How did COVID-19 impact online demand for Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

As you can imagine, analyzing online demand on Amazon presents some challenges when it comes to trying to learn more about America’s drinking habits. While online shopping grew significantly during the pandemic, alcohol remains a regulated substance, so the local grocery store or liquor store are still where the vast majority of Americans get their booze.

That doesn’t leave us without any options, of course. One of the first things we wanted to examine was sales for non-alcoholic beverages (which you can, of course, buy online).

First things first, let’s look at weekly demand since January 2020 for non-alcoholic beverages like non-alcoholic beer and the ever-growing selection of alcohol-free mocktail base beverages.

As you might expect, the New Year represents a major high point for demand for non-alcoholic beverages. January 2020 was the high point of that year, with demand settling into consistent levels through the earliest weeks of the pandemic and well into the summer and fall.

Demand for non-alcoholic beverages began to climb the week of Dec 13th and then absolutely skyrocketed on the last week of the year. Demand then remained high throughout January 2021, dwarfing New Year’s 2020, which suggests there were a lot more people interested in alcohol free alternatives after the first year of COVID.

A year-over-year comparison of monthly demand reinforces this theory:

Again, we see January and December being high points for both 2019 and 2020, with non-alcoholic beverages growing somewhat in popularity between both years.

2021, though, has consistently outperformed both previous years. Interestingly, though, we saw demand dip slightly between October and November this year. It’s too early to tell if this is a sign of a broader slowdown in demand, or a simple anomaly, but we will be keeping a closer eye on this over the coming weeks.

Finally, let’s dig a little deeper and compare non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic spirits, and general searches for “non-alcoholic” items. Here’s how weekly demand for each changed from 2020 through 2021 so far:

Non-alcoholic beer actually did see a pretty significant surge in the weeks immediately following lockdown, and otherwise has experienced fairly inconsistent shifts in demand from week to week. This is the category that has been trending downward the most as we enter the holiday season, which is something to keep an eye on.

Demand for non-alcoholic spirits and general “non-alcoholic” searches both followed similar trends, peaking in January, and remaining consistently higher in 2021 compared to 2020.

Each of the charts above offers strong early evidence that there may be a growing segment of consumers who may be looking for some sober options after overindulging a bit while spending much of 2020 isolating at home.

Has demand for alcoholic drinks remained high through 2021 so far?

There’s clear evidence that online demand for non-alcoholic beverages is at an all-time high, but what about alcoholic beverages? Is demand for the strong stuff falling as demand for its counterpart goes up?

Again, this can be a bit hard for us to uncover, as Americans are unable to purchase alcoholic beverages on Amazon. A possible surrogate that people do love to shop for online, though, is barware and glassware.

When we examine weekly demand, we see a much more immediate impact in the early days of the pandemic. The first weeks of shutdowns actually saw demand for glassware and barware dip somewhat, an effect that was only temporary.

Demand very quickly rebounded and shot to a high point not matched until the Holiday shopping rush, which was tremendous. 2021, meanwhile, has been remarkably consistent throughout the year. What remains to be seen is whether this holiday season will match last year’s heights.

Our year-over-year view further supports this notion. May of 2020 saw unseasonably high demand, as millions of Americans got their home bar situation all set up in the face of closed bars and shelter in place orders.

Demand in early 2021 was ahead of 2020’s pre-pandemic levels, fell behind May’s surge, and has trended pretty close to 2020 levels in the months since.

Here’s a closer look at the change in weekly demand for different types of glassware:

Martini glasses experienced the quickest rebound following the initial lockdown dip, while margarita glasses experienced the most significant early rebound (during the week of Cinco de Mayo, of course).

The peak season for glassware is during the holidays, with demand increasing by 80% to over 100% during December for each type of glassware except for margarita glasses.

Again, 2021 appears to be strikingly similar to 2020 so far. Margarita glasses enjoyed another strong Cinco de Mayo, but most other types of glassware saw demand hover right around 2020’s levels for much of the year.

Martini glasses have seen the largest early holiday shopping surge, with wine glasses and shot glasses not far behind. Pint and pilsner glasses, meanwhile, have yet to see a holiday surge in our analysis as of the last week of November.

Of course, that doesn’t mean for certain that Americans are cutting back on purchasing alcohol. It could be that everyone got their home-bar situated last year and simply don’t need to restock.

However, it is at least some evidence that points toward demand for booze softening somewhat in the wake of last year’s binge.

Online demand in 2021: Non-alcoholic beverages vs. glassware and barware

Let’s close with one last, simple look at 2021 so far. We took online demand for each type of non-alcoholic beverage and item of glassware and barware from January 2021 through July 2021 and compared it to the same period in 2020.

Here’s what we found.

Again, 2021 so far has been huge for non-alcoholic beer, spirits, and non-alcoholic items as a whole.

Just “non-alcoholic” as a broad term has experienced the biggest increase, as demand in 2021 has been up by 52% compared to 2020. Non-alcoholic spirits, meanwhile, has seen demand up by 51%, while demand for non-alcoholic beer is up 34%.

Interestingly, shot glasses have had the next strongest 2021 so far, with demand up 22% vs. 2020. In fact, the glass and barware most associated with the strong stuff have been the ones who have had the largest 2021. Wine glasses and pint glasses, meanwhile, have actually seen demand slow down in 2021.

Again, we hesitate to declare in certain terms that demand for alcoholic beverages is slowing down in 2021, especially until after we’ve been able to fully analyze data from the holiday surge. However, we are seeing clear evidence that demand for non-alcoholic beverages is way up.

A lesson for brands

Our data shows that non-alcoholic beverages are more popular than ever. While the pandemic initially had little impact on booze-free substitutes, it’s clear that more and more people are looking in that direction now that things have begun to reopen.

The pandemic did have a clear and immediate impact on home bar supplies, which supports other studies that suggested last year was an unusually heavy drinking year for millions of Americans.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

For example, we may see non-alcoholic drinks continue to grow in popularity as more and more as 2021 draws to a close and people start looking toward 2022. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant as the holiday break approaches, we may see another run on home-bar equipment and a subsequent dip in demand for non-alcoholic drinks.

Either way, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these trends and more in the coming weeks and months.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, get in touch today.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads
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Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.