Declining Economy Has Little Impact on Off-Premise Alcoholic Beverage Purchases: Study

Alcoholic beverage purchases may be somewhat recession-proof, as the declining economy is having only a mild impact on consumers' alcoholic beverage purchases at off-premise locations such as grocery stores, according to new research by The Nielsen Company.

According to the study, which was released yesterday at Nielsen's Consumer 360 conference in Phoenix, nearly half of consumers surveyed report that the downturn in the economy has had no influence in the amount they're spending for beer, wine, or spirits at off-premise locations; fewer than 20 percent indicated a significant impact.

More than 80 percent of consumers say they're spending the same amount or more on beer, wine, and spirits, compared with a year ago.

"Although consumers have less money to spend due to rising gas prices and other economic pressures, our research shows the economic slowdown is having only a modest impact on alcoholic beverage purchases," said Danny Brager, v.p., client service, beverage alcohol, Nielsen. "Alcoholic beverages are withstanding the economic slowdown very well, compared to other categories that might be considered indulgent or non-necessities. To many consumers, alcoholic beverages are an affordable luxury."

Other findings include:

--Of those consumers that report the economy has significantly impacted their alcoholic beverage purchases in stores, more than 60 percent report they're now shopping at places where they can get a better price.Nearly half report they're shopping at stores that are closer so they can save on gas.

--When asked about the primary reasons consumers shop for alcoholic beverages at certain types of stores, convenient location and better prices or promotions top the list for beer, wine, and spirits purchases. Wine buyers also prefer specialty grocery stores for their helpful and knowledgeable staff.
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