The end-of-year holiday season is the biggest time of year for giving and sharing beverages. This year was no different, and the five top dates for gift orders on Drizly were the five days leading up to Christmas. Yet in 2021, gift orders were more spread out than previous years. Retailers can use insights into the most gifted categories and bottles to guide sales throughout 2022.

Gifting During the Holiday Season (and Beyond)

Gift purchases on Drizly have grown from a four percent share of total sales in 2019, to a seven percent share in 2020, to an 11 percent share in 2021.

The December holiday season is when most gift orders are made, as to be expected. The top five gift dates of 2021, in order, reflect that: December 23, 22, 21, 24, and 20. Other months have seen notable growth, however. 

December held 32 percent share of all gift orders in 2020, for example, versus 20 percent in 2021. Throughout the past year, no month had below a six percent share of gift orders. March held a nine percent share, while four months had an eight percent share (February, April, January, and May), three months had a seven percent share (June, October, and September), and three months had a six percent share (November, August, and July).

That’s compared to 2020, when January, February, and March were all slow gift months with three percent of share or less. 

“We believe the shift toward a growing gift order share is a result of increased awareness of the gifting functionality on Drizly, which has skyrocketed amidst the pandemic,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “Alcohol has long been a favorite gift item, but growth in e-commerce and delivery in the industry has allowed colleagues, friends, and family to send alcohol gifts from afar within the hour.”  

Across the United States, beverage alcohol e-commerce has an annual growth of about 20 percent, according to the IWSR. E-commerce awareness and interest saw a boost over the past couple of years; The IWSR notes that 54 percent of online beverage buyers in the country made their first purchase during the pandemic.

Drizly’s Most-Gifted Brands, 2021

  1. Veuve Clicquot
  2. Dom Perignon
  3. Moet & Chandon
  4. Clase Azul
  5. The Macallan
  6. Don Julio
  7. Casamigos
  8. Johnnie Walker
  9. Caymus
  10. Woodford Reserve

Wine Leads Drizly Gifting

Wine is the most-gifted category by share of gift order sales on Drizly. The category’s position only became stronger in 2021, when wine gained two percentage points in share to reach 50 percent of gift orders. Liquor followed with a 44 percent share, while beer dropped two percentage points to a four percent share.

Within wine, Champagne and sparkling wine is by far the most-gifted subcategory. Champagne gained two percentage points from 2020 to 2021 to command an 84 percent share of gift orders in the Champagne and sparkling wine subcategory. Sparkling rosé wine grew as well, to a nine percentage share in 2021 versus seven percent in 2020. Prosecco (four percent in 2021 versus six percent in 2020) and American sparkling (two percent versus three percent) both lost share year-over-year.  

From 2020 to 2021, three subcategories saw the most significant share gains in gift orders on Drizly. Champagne and sparkling wine rose three percentage share points year-over-year, while whiskey rose one percentage point, tequila rose two, and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails newly made it onto the list with a one percent share of gift orders in 2021. 

Drizly’s Most-Gifted Subcategories by Share, 2021

  1. Champagne & Sparkling Wine: 31 percent
  2. Whiskey: 26 percent
  3. Red Wine: 14 percent
  4. Tequila : 11 percent
  5. White Wine: 4 percent

Within the whiskey subcategory, Scotch whisky gained a three percent share of whiskey gift orders to take the top spot at 37 percent of share. Bourbon lost one percentage point, though it still sits right on Scotch’s heels at 36 percent of share. Japanese whisky ranks third, holding nine percent of share, followed by rye (six percent) and Irish whiskey (five percent). Single malt, American, flavored, and Canadian whiskeys all have less than a five percent share of gift orders in the subcategory.

The share of tequila sales on Drizly continued to grow through 2021, including for gift orders. Reposado and añejo tequilas especially saw growth in gifting. Reposado tequila gained a five percentage point share year-over-year in gift orders to hold 32 percent of tequila gift order share in 2021—just three percentage points behind silver/blanco—while the añejo gained three percentage points to sit right behind at 31 percent of share.

Tips to Maximize Gift Orders through 2022

Looking ahead, keep an eye on both the top SKUs leading gift purchasing and the fastest-growing SKUs for gift orders.

Drizly’s Most-Gifted SKUs, 2021

  1. Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne
  2. Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne
  3. Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne
  4. Clase Azul Reposado Tequila 
  5. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Gift Box Champagne
  6. Don Julio 1942 
  7. Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  8. Casamigos Blanco
  9. Veuve Clicquot Rose Champagne
  10. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky

Drizly’s Fastest-Growing Gift-Order SKUs, Year-Over-Year

  1. Herradura Legend Añejo Tequila
  2. Moet & Chandon Champagne Brut Imperial Rose
  3. 1800 Tequila Milenio Extra Añejo
  4. Maestro Dobel 50 Cristalino Extra Añejo
  5. Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old Champagne
  6. Herradura 150 Aniversario
  7. Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
  8. The Prisoner Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  9. Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 25 Year
  10. Perrier Jouet Blanc De Blancs Champagne

Though gifting has gone up in months not defined by the holiday season, it’s important to remember broader trends when making stocking decisions.

“Overall, gifting trends from a subcategory perspective typically mirror seasonal trends overall,” Paquette says. “In the winter and fall months in 2021, whiskey and red wine saw share gains in terms of gifting. In the spring and summer months in 2021, Champagne and sparkling wine, tequila, and rosé saw share gains in terms of gifting.”

The same goes for overall consumer trends. When categories like tequila and RTDs saw share gains in overall sales on Drizly, the subcategories saw share gain in gift orders as well.

It’s particularly important to maximize gift order sales because when Drizly users purchase gifts, they typically spend more. In 2021, the average unit price for gift orders of Champagne and sparkling wine was $57.50 (versus $21.80 for a non-gift order); for whiskey, it was $70.40 (versus $34.40 for a non-gift order); and for tequila, it was for whiskey, it was $75.50 (versus $43.70 for a non-gift order).

Gift order share in the early part of the year spiked on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Gift orders also increase with graduations, engagements and other celebrations that pick up in the spring and summer.

“We expect the holiday season in December will continue to remain the best-selling gift season of the year,” says Paquette, “but share will continue to shift year-round as consumers turn to Drizly for day-to-day gifting needs.”