The holiday season is peak time for beverage alcohol sales, particularly as consumers splurge on special bottles as gifts for friends and family members. As holiday festivities approach, it’s time to prepare for another busy holiday gifting season.

In the last 12 months, gift orders accounted for nine percent of overall sales on Drizly. “Overall gifting sales held strong,” says Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly. “We expect the same trend to continue this December, with gift share on the platform at least doubling.” 

Last December, gift order share soared to 18 percent, which Paquette expects that the platform will match or surpass in December 2023. But which subcategories and products will consumers be gifting during the 2023 holiday season?

Spirits — especially bourbon, Scotch whisky, and reposado tequila — led the pack for gifts last December, while wine followed close behind with Champagne and red wine in the lead. With these sales trends in mind, retailers should stock up on these items — particularly premium products. 

“With gifting in particular there is increased interest in premium categories,” notes Paquette. “Items like bourbon and reposado tequila are now positioned as high-end gifts with the likes of Champagne.”

Drizly data shows that consumers typically splurge on gifts during the holiday season; the average unit price for gift orders totaled $54.40 in December 2022 compared to $46.67 in the year’s prior months.

Based on Drizly’s gift sales data from the past 12 months and overall gifting trends, these are the subcategories and products poised to top consumers’ gift lists this year.

Tequila, Bourbon, and Scotch

In recent years, tequila has become an increasingly strong player in alcohol gifting, accounting for 30 percent of liquor category gift sales in the last 12 months. Broken down by subcategory, reposado leads at 14 percent of spirits gift share, while añejo accounts for nine percent and silver/blanco comprises seven percent of share.

Premium tequila has seen particularly high share growth, especially when it comes to gifts. While Clase Azul Reposado Tequila and Don Julio 1942, an añejo tequila, were the most-gifted items in the last year, Casamigos Blanco tequila also made the top 10 list. Both Don Julio 1942 and Casamigos Blanco saw gains year-over-year.

The whiskey category is also a top performer, accounting for 28 percent of all liquor gift sales. Bourbon comprised a 21 percent share of gift orders in the spirits category during the last 12 months, maintaining its 2022 status as the most-gifted whiskey subcategory. Scotch whisky followed close behind at 20 percent.

The list of most-gifted bourbon and whiskey SKUs on Drizly reflects consumer tendencies to spend big on gift orders. 

Retailers can bank on classic bourbons like Blanton’s Single Barrel, Woodford Reserve, and Basil Hayden, as well as premium Scotch whiskies like Johnnie Walker Blue Label and The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old. One popular Japanese whisky made the most-gifted list as well: Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky. Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Woodford Reserve, and Basil Hayden all saw gains over the previous year. 

Champagne and Sparkling Wine

Once again, Champagne tops the list of most-gifted wines on Drizly, accounting for 65 percent of all wine gift sales. The overall Champagne/sparkling wine category commanded 74 percent of wine gift sales in the past 12 months, with sparkling rosé accounting for five percent of share, Prosecco taking two percent of share, and American sparkling wine garnering two percent of share. 

Among the most-gifted Champagnes so far this year are Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne (both in a standard bottle and gift box), Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne, Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne, Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Brut Champagne, and Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne. Two rosé Champagnes made the list this year, from the houses of Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon. Both the Moët & Chandon Impérial Rosé and Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne have gained share in the past year. One sparkling wine, La Marca Prosecco, also made the top 10.

Red Wine

Red wine is also a go-to item for gifters, comprising 17 percent of all wine gift orders during the last year — up from 14 percent the previous year.  

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-gifted red varietal wine at 65 percent share, followed by Pinot Noir at 14 percent. California — specifically Napa Valley — should be a source for retailer gifts, as all of Drizly’s 10 most-gifted red wines come from the state, and the majority come from Napa Valley. They include wines from well-known producers like Caymus, Silver Oak, Stag’s Leap, and Opus One, along with The Prisoner, Decoy, Orin Swift Cellars, and Belle Glos.

Luxury Items

The average unit price of gift orders on Drizly is on the rise, especially as the winter holidays approach. Last December, the average gift order totaled $54.40 compared to $46.67 in the prior months of 2022. 

Champagne is one of the top-gifted luxury items (priced at $75 and up) and consumers frequently reach for Dom Pérignon and Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne. 

For spirits, Clase Azul Reposado Tequila, Don Julio 1942, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whiskey, and The Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky are among the top luxury gifts. Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky has been another popular gift option during the past 12 months. One wine, Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, made the list of Drizly’s popular luxury gift items. 

Budget-Friendly Gifts

To maximize sales across consumers, retailers should also look at the most-gifted wines in more budget-friendly price-points. All of the top 10 most-gifted items on Drizly priced under $25 fall into the wine category, and bottles like La Marca Prosecco, Meiomi Pinot Noir, Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon, and Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio are especially likely to wind up in gift bags. 

Fastest-Growing Gift Items

Spirits account for seven of Drizly’s top 10 fastest-growing gift items. “This mirrors a larger trend we have seen in the past couple of years,” says Paquette, “with spirits share surging and overtaking wine as the top-selling category on Drizly.”

Retailers should consider stocking up on The Balvenie 16 Year Old French Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Angel’s Envy Straight Bourbon Whiskey Private Reserve, and Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon, as well as tequilas such as Grand Mayan Limited Edition Ultra Añejo, and Tapatio Excelencia. The fastest-growing wine gifts compared to the previous year are Pahlmeyer Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon and Perrier Jouet Blanc De Blancs Champagne.

Additionally, with a ready-to-drink espresso martini ranked No. 2 for the second year in a row, this is a product and category to watch when it comes to gift orders.

Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Gifted Items

  1. The Balvenie 16-Year-Old French Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  2. On The Rocks Effen Vodka Espresso Martini (RTD)
  3. Angel’s Envy Straight Bourbon Whiskey Private Reserve
  4. Pahlmeyer Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
  5. Grand Mayan Limited Edition Ultra Añejo Tequila
  6. Tapatio Excelencia Tequila
  7. Tequila Komos Extra Anejo Tequila
  8. Mijenta Reposado Tequila
  9. Perrier Jouet Blanc De Blancs Champagne
  10. Blanton’s Gold Edition Bourbon