BevAlc Insights’ 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Retailers
Predicting this holiday season’s top gifts based off 2020 sales and 2021 trends
Gifting has always played an important role for alcohol retailers amidst the holidays, but since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic began, the practice of gifting a bottle of wine or liquor for any and all occasions has been booming. Even with gathering and travel restrictions loosened, the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down, which means retailers should be prepared for their busiest holiday season yet.
In 2021 to date, 10 percent share of orders on Drizly were gifts, and this December, it’s likely that number will at least double—in December 2020, gift orders accounted for 20 percent share of total orders. But which subcategories and products will consumers be gifting during the 2021 holiday season?
Last December, Champagne, followed by red wine, led the pack for gifts, though spirits, especially bourbon and Scotch, weren’t far behind. Despite the continuing hard seltzer boom, beer does not typically represent a large portion of gift sales. Retailers may want to stock up on luxury items, like Champagne, premium red wine, and high-end spirits, as consumers typically spend more than usual on gifts.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Based on Drizly’s gift sales data from December 2020 and overall 2021 trends, these are the subcategories and SKUs poised to top gift lists this year.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Champagne and sparkling wine are fixtures of the holiday season, so it’s no surprise that they continuously comprise the most-gifted category on Drizly. In the past 12 months, Champagne and sparkling wine have accounted for 30 percent share of gift orders on Drizly and in December of 2020, Champagne was the top-gifted subcategory with 24 percent share of orders.
Retailers can expect bubbly to reign again for the 2021 holidays. Among the most-gifted Champagnes this year are Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne (both in a standard bottle and in a gift box), Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne, and Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne.
Scotch (and Other Whiskeys)
Scotch is a notoriously popular holiday beverage, particularly for special corporate gifts. Whiskey accounted for 26 percent share of gift orders over the last 12 months, and while bourbon leads overall whiskey sales, gifters have been slightly more keen to opt for Scotch. Together, Scotch and bourbon have comprised 73 percent of whiskey gift orders this past year.
In recent years, many consumers have shifted away from entry-level options towards higher-end, single malt Scotch whiskies. Expect premium Scotches like The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old and Lagavulin 16-Year-Old Islay Single Malt to be frequently-purchased gift items alongside classic consumer favorites like Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky. Other whiskey styles, like Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky, have made the top 10 gifted whiskeys list for several years in a row and are poised to be popular as well.
As the category with the highest share of sales overall on Drizly, it’s unsurprising that red wine is also a go-to item for gifters (in the past year, 14 percent of gift orders were for red wine). Prestigious, well-known Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons or Bordeaux blends like Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Stag’s Leap Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon rank among the most-gifted red wines year after year. In fact, five of the top 10 gifted red wines hail from Napa Valley — and all 10 come from California.
Tequila has been one of the fastest-growing spirits categories on Drizly over the last few years and the spirit has accounted for 10 percent of gift order share in the past 12 months. Premium tequilas have seen particularly high share growth, especially when it comes to gifts. While Clase Azul Reposado Tequila was the top-gifted item in the last year, silver and blanco tequilas like Casamigos Blanco, Patron Silver, and Don Julio Blanco are the most popular tequila styles for gifts.
Ready to Drink
Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails make up just one percent share of gift orders on Drizly in the past 12 months, but retailers shouldn’t sleep on its potential. “It is among the hottest categories this year, so it’s one to watch for gifting as consumers potentially gift pre-mixed cocktails over ingredients to make favorite cocktails,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights.
This year, the High Noon Hard Seltzer Variety Pack has been the most popular gift in the RTD category, but retailers should also consider stocking up on On The Rocks cocktails, which have five SKUs on the top 10 list for gifted RTDs. When it comes to cocktail types, consumers are most drawn to Margarita-flavored RTDs for gifts.
The average unit price of gift orders has increased by $4 year-over-year ($39 in 2021 compared to $34 in 2020), suggesting that many consumers will splurge on gifts this holiday season. “Consumers are willing to splurge and spend more on gifts amidst the pandemic as they may be celebrating holidays and life moments from afar,” says Paquette.
Champagne is one of the top-gifted luxury items (priced at $75 and above) and consumers frequently reach for Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne, Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne, and Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne. For spirits, Clase Azul Reposado Tequila, Don Julio 1942, and Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky are among the top luxury gifts.
Not every customer will be looking to splurge, so retailers would be wise to stock up on some budget-friendly gift options as well. Eight of the top 10 gifted items under $25 on Drizly fall into the wine category and bottles like La Marca Prosecco, Whispering Angel Rosé, and Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon are especially likely to wind up in a gift bag. Gifters looking for an affordable wine alternative often reach for Tito’s Handmade Vodka or the White Claw Hard Seltzer Variety Pack Flavor Collection No. 1.