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.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 27, 2022

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/)
Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.