Skip to main content

‘Dry January’ Is Coming, But Are Shoppers Really Shying Away?

Research confirms steady demand in general alcohol market, even as younger consumers are more open to alcohol-free lifestyles
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
‘Dry January’ Is Coming, But Are Shoppers Really Shying Away?
Research from MikMak shows that Dry January trends more towards a dry half-January.

While there has been some ballyhoo lately about booze-free trends, recent research suggests that alcohol brands are holding their own and can tap into new avenues for growth.

Heading into “Dry January,” a grassroots campaign based on giving up adult beverages for a month, recent data from e-commerce platform MikMak shows that many consumers’ resolutions don’t last very long. According to the firm’s shopping index, online traffic and add-to-cart rates for alcohol actually increased by the second week in January in 2021.

MikMak’s data – based on e-commerce KPIs collected across hundreds of brands and more than 250 channel and retailer integrations – also revealed that 87% of e-commerce sales tracked by its platform came from mobile devices. When ordering, consumers are using a variety of e-commerce services. 

In addition to MikMak’s findings that support steady demand for adult beverages and strong opportunities in the e-commerce space, other studies have shown that stress of the past two years has affected alcohol consumption. A Rand Corporation study, for instance, found that alcohol consumption rose 14% during the pandemic.

Still, a growing number of younger Millennial and Gen Z consumers have expressed interest in drinking less, sparking what’s been called the “sober curious” and “mindful drinking” movement.

In January and beyond, there’s likely room for both, as brands like Budweiser and Molson Coors have added low- or non-alcoholic products and others have launched better-for-you alcoholic beverages. “Brands have the opportunity to mitigate consumers’ health concerns by crafting low-carb, low-calorie and even low-ABV products that deliver on taste/flavor while also focusing on fun so consumers do not feel as though they are losing out on the enjoyment of drinking,” concluded Caleb Bryant, associated director, food and drink, at Mintel, in a 2021 blog post on beverage trends.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds