Alcohol gift orders have been on the rise, and in 2021 to date, they have accounted for 10 percent of all sales on Drizly. Yet the holidays are an entirely different animal. Over the past 12 months, December was the top month for gift orders, which made up a whopping 20 percent share—double the year-round average. 

For retailers, this means that December truly is the most wonderful time of the year — the average unit price of gift orders ($39.21) is more than double of standard orders ($17.68) — but also the busiest. Retailers will want to be prepared with not only enough inventory, but enough staff to fulfill orders. 

“Be ready for gift orders, particularly on high-volume days both from an inventory and logistics perspective,” suggests Liz Paquette, head of Drizly consumer insights. “Prepare staff early on how to manage gift orders, from including a gift note and wrapping to assuring gifts are delivered during the scheduled window.”

Devising a holiday gift strategy is key, so BevAlc Insights analyzed Drizly gift order data from the past 12 months to help provide a better understanding of the demographics and behaviors of gift buyers come December.

Who is Ordering Gifts?

The millennial demographic, ages 26 to 39, over-indexes on gift orders relative to standard order share on Drizly. This age group accounted for 57 percent share of gift orders compared to 49 percent of standard order share on Drizly over the past year. 

“Though Drizly orders overall skew towards the millennial generation, this is even more so the case for gift orders, likely a result of this age group having greater awareness that ordering alcohol delivery for gifts is an option,” explains Paquette. “As more generations become more aware of this gifting option, we may see a share shift.”

Retailers located in the markets of Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and Orange County, California should prepare for a gift-order rush, as these markets over-index on gift orders. 

When planning inventory, retailers should focus on the two categories that rule gifting on Drizly: Wine is the most common gift, accounting for 50 percent of gift order share, followed by liquor at 44 percent share.

Gifters Typically Plan Ahead—Sort Of

Gift orders are more likely to occur midweek than standard orders, where weekends tend to be the busiest. Over the last 12 months, Friday was the top day for gift orders overall, but Drizly data shows that a shift occurred in December 2020 when Thursday and Wednesday were the most popular days for gift orders, accounting for 43 percent total share. Friday orders accounted for just 12 percent of gift order share while Saturday and Sunday were the least popular, together making up just 14 percent of gift order share. 

Another big difference between gift orders and standard orders on Drizly is delivery type. While standard orders on Drizly are typically on-demand for delivery in next 60 minutes, the majority of gift orders — 83 percent over the past 12 months — are scheduled in advance. This data is consistent with December of 2020 when 82 percent of gift orders were scheduled for delivery, while 10 percent were shipped and eight percent were on demand. 

This gives retailers some extra time to plan and pack gift orders, but they shouldn’t expect more than a few additional hours. Deliveries for the majority of scheduled Drizly orders fall on the same day orders are placed. 

Preparing for Last-Minute Shoppers

In 2020, the majority of December gift orders on Drizly were placed the week of Christmas. On December 21 and 22 over 30% share of orders on Drizly were gifts. 

Drizly’s Top Days for Gift Order Share in December 2020

  1. December 21
  2. December 22
  3. December 17
  4. December 23
  5. December 18 and December 14 

This year, there’s an additional factor for retailers to consider: Reports about nationwide shipping delays will likely make local delivery options like Drizly particularly appealing in 2021, and retailers could see even more last-minute orders than in past years. 

“The majority of Drizly gift orders are delivered locally, which means it is a great option for last-minute gifts, which we expect will become an even more important use case for customers this year as major shipping delays are a factor,” says Paquette. “We expect in the week or two leading up to the holidays, consumers will seek alternatives to avoid shipping delays.”