The holiday season may be the Olympics of gifting, but spring and summer have their fair share of gifting occasions as well. From Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to weddings and graduations, Drizly has seen increased demand for gift orders in the spring and summer months, and retailers should prepare accordingly. 

But it’s not as simple as stocking up on the same holiday favorites. Consumers reach for different categories, subcategories, and brands in warmer seasons, so we’ve gathered Drizly data to help retailers optimize their inventory and gift order strategy in the months ahead. 

Why Spring and Summer are Key Gifting Seasons

Drizly data from the past few years shows that more consumers are gifting alcohol online. In 2020, gift order share in Q2 and Q3 held six percent of all Drizly orders compared to four percent in Q2 and Q3 of 2019. In December 2020, gift order share spiked to nearly 20 percent of all orders on Drizly, and in 2021 to date, gift orders have accounted for 10 percent share of all Drizly orders compared to three percent during the same period last year.

“Over the past year, amidst the pandemic and growing consumer awareness for alcohol e-commerce, gift orders have become a more and more popular use case to order on Drizly,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly head of consumer insights.

She doesn’t see this trend slowing down, either. “Similarly to bev-alc e-commerce overall, even as pandemic restrictions lift, we believe that many of the behaviors consumers adopted amidst the pandemic will be long-lasting, and gifting is one of them. Given the strong year-over-year growth we have already seen in the early months of 2021, we anticipate retailers will see even higher gift order volume this spring and summer than years prior.”

A 2020 survey from RetailMeNot found that 18 percent of dads chose alcohol as the gift they were hoping for on Father’s Day, and data from the National Retailer Foundation shows significant increases in how much consumers plan to spend on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. On average, consumers said they planned to spend $205 on their mom for Mother’s Day in 2020, approximately $8 more than the year prior, and about $149 on dad for Father’s Day, an increase of $10 from 2019. 

There are also many other evergreen occasions, like weddings, engagements, graduations, and birthdays, that prompt ongoing gift orders during these months. 

Keeping it Light and Fresh

While there are some consistencies in gifting year-round — for example, wine and spirits account for more than 90 percent share of total gift orders — consumers tend to gravitate more towards light and refreshing beverages in the warm spring and summer months than they do over the holiday season.

Take beer, which accounted for just four percent of overall gift sales share in Q4 2020, compared to seven percent in Q2 and Q3. The biggest contributor to this increase was hard seltzer, which accounted for 20 percent of beer’s gifting share last spring and summer, compared to 13 percent over the holidays. 

White and rosé wine both saw a jump in gift order share during Q2 and Q3 2020 (compared to Q4) as well, up by three percent and six percent, respectively. “We expect gifts this spring and summer to include Prosecco rosé and grower Champagne. We also see our guests loving fun, crisp whites like Albariño or wines from Portugal,” says Mike Fisch, the director of innovation at Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, which has locations in New Jersey and Napa Valley.

In the liquor category, whiskey dominates all year, but its gift order share dropped in the spring and summer of 2020 as tequila, vodka, and gin all saw an increase in share. 

Paquette says that this is all consistent with “typical seasonal shifts in category share that we see across all orders in the spring and summer versus the fall and winter months.” She also predicts that RTD cocktails and mezcal, which have seen strong year-over-year growth, will be popular items for gifting this spring and summer. 

Drizly’s Most-Gifted SKUs on Mother’s Day 2020

  1. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne 
  2. La Marca Prosecco
  3. Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne
  4. Whispering Angel Rosé
  5. Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne 
  6. Tito’s Handmade Vodka 
  7. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio DOC
  8. Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 
  9. Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne 
  10. Clase Azul Reposado Tequila 

Drizly’s Most-Gifted SKUs on Father’s Day 2020

  1. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne 
  2. Don Julio 1942 
  3. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky
  4. Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky 
  5. The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
  6. Casamigos Blanco
  7. Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
  8. Clase Azul Reposado Tequila 
  9. Lagavulin 16 Year
  10. GREY GOOSE Vodka 

Driving More Sales Through Gift Orders

Retailers can optimize their inventory for gifting by making sure they keep the top gifted categories and SKUs in stock, especially in the weeks leading up to key gifting occasions. Also, adding a personal touch can go a long way in getting repeat gift orders from customers. 

“Nailing the customer experience is key for all delivery orders, but especially for gift orders,” explains Paquette. “For gift orders, retailers should focus on the experience for both the gift giver and recipient, and go the extra mile by including the gift note and wrapping, or bags.”

Gary’s Wine & Marketplace has a custom gifting and gift basket department, and they filled roughly 5,000 gift orders online in 2020, representing about four percent of total online orders. “We offer premium packaging options for gifts — woven gift baskets, wooden carriers, and more — as well as the option to include custom gift notes,” says Fisch. “We also offer the option to include cheese pairings, crackers, nuts, or other gourmet dry goods.”