A Deep Dive Into Summer 2023 Purchasing Trends
White wines, light-bodied reds, RTD cocktails, and zero-proof beverages are the season’s big sellers so far
The summer season impacts consumers’ buying habits in many ways, from the types of drinks they purchase to packaging formats. It’s also a prime time of year for outdoor parties, which can lead to crowd-sized beverage orders.
“Last summer, we saw the average order value on Drizly rise during the month of July, holding strong through September,” says Liz Paquette, the platform’s head of consumer insights. “This was potentially the result of increased hosting and larger gatherings during the summer.”
That trend is expected to continue this year, according to Drizly’s 2023 Consumer Report. Nearly half of survey participants said they planned to host the same number of gatherings in 2023 compared to the previous year, and 22 percent said they expect to host even more parties. When asked about the types of events they wished to host, backyard barbecues — a summertime staple — topped the list.
Based on Drizly sales data, here are the key summer purchasing trends that retailers should keep in mind when stocking their shelves for the remainder of the season and the upcoming Labor Day holiday.
Pink Is Down, Whites and Reds Are Up
When the weather heats up, consumers reach for refreshing white wines. The category’s share of overall wine sales on Drizly has increased three percent thus far in summer 2023 [defined as May 1, 2023 to date] compared to the same period in 2022.
Meanwhile, the share for rosé has dropped eight percent. “As fewer Drizly consumers reach for pink wines during the warmer months and summertime holidays this year,” says Paquette, “Drizly has seen lighter-bodied red varieties rising in the ranks and experiencing share increases.”
In the 2023 Consumer Report, 31 percent of survey respondents named red wine as their go-to summer drink, ranking it higher than both white wine and rosé. In summer 2023 to date, Barbera — characterized by its typically light body — has surged 21 percent on Drizly in share of the red wine category compared to the same period in 2022.
The Spritz Is Trending
With “European summer” trending in the national consumer media, the Aperol Spritz and other spritz-style drinks have seen a sales uptick on Drizly. Aperol is now the platform’s best-selling liqueur, and the orange-flavored drink’s share has increased 23 percent this summer compared to the previous year.
“This trend is also carrying into the RTD category with Delola, a new RTD spritz product launched by Jennifer Lopez earlier this year,” notes Paquette. “The brand has been gaining traction, accounting for three of the 10 best-selling new products released in Q2 of 2023.”
In the two-week period ending July 8, 2023, including the Fourth of July holiday, NielsenIQ (NIQ) figures show that sales of spirits-based RTDs spiked more than 47 percent compared to the same period the previous year.
“Many enjoy the convenience and authenticity of these products, especially spirits-based canned cocktails,” says Kaleigh Theriault, the director of beverage alcohol thought leadership at NIQ. “We expect their popularity to continue.”
Lager Is Taking Share from Hard Seltzer
In summer 2023 to date, light lager holds 19 percent share of the beer category on Drizly, while hard seltzer holds 18 percent share. During the same period in summer 2022, light lager held 18 percent share and hard seltzer reigned as the top-selling beer subcategory with 21 percent share.
Light lager surpassed hard seltzer as the top-selling beer subcategory on Drizly during the 2023 July 4 weekend. This is a reversal from the summer of 2019, when hard seltzer first surpassed light lager as Drizly’s top-selling beer subcategory on the Fourth of July. Light lager held 20 percent share of the beer category on Drizly during the 2023 July 4 weekend, while hard seltzer held 19 percent share.
NIQ data also shows a decline for hard seltzer; in the two-week period ending July 8, 2023, sales decreased six percent.
“As other alternative options have grown across RTDs and in categories like hard iced tea and hard lemonade,” says Paquette, “consumers have more choices beyond hard seltzer.”
Drizly’s 10 Best-Selling Light Lager SKUs, Summer 2023 to Date
- Coors Light
- Miller Lite
- Bud Light
- Michelob Ultra
- Corona Premier Light
- Corona Light
- Busch Light
- Natural Light
- Bud Light Lime
- Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
Non-Alcoholic Options Are Gaining Share
The non-alcoholic beverage category, which includes non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits, has increased 54 percent in share on Drizly in summer 2023 to date compared to the same period in summer 2022. Zero-proof spirits have jumped 300 percent in share, which is the largest summer year-over-year increase seen on the platform.
NIQ’s report on the Top 5 Summer Beverage Trends for 2023 names “The Rise of Mocktails” in the No. 1 spot, noting that consumers are gravitating toward ready-to-drink products as well as alcohol-free mixers for making mocktails at home.
Drizly’s 10 Fastest-Growing Non-Alcoholic SKUs, Summer 2023 to Date
- Lagunitas IPNA
- Wölffer Spring in a Bottle Non-Alcoholic Wine
- Kin Euphorics Lightwave
- The Pathfinder Non-Alcoholic Spirit
- Kin High Rhode Euphoric Non-Alcoholic Spirit
- CleanCo Clean G Gin Alternative
- Stella Artois Liberté Non-Alcoholic Beer
- Ritual Zero Proof Gin Alternative
- BrewDog USA Hazy AF Non-Alcoholic Beer
- Guinness 0 Non-Alcoholic Beer