The Booze You Choose is Heavily Influenced by Social Media and Peer Recommendations

The Booze You Choose is Heavily Influenced by Social Media and Peer Recommendations
By Katie Perry

Picture this: It’s a beautiful autumn day and you’re meeting some colleagues at the local watering hole for a post-work drink. As you scan the countless taps and bottles that line the bar, your mind races. Beer or liquor? Cocktail or on the rocks?

Personal preference is a major factor in your decision, but which factors influence the types of alcoholic beverages you prefer – and ultimately, purchase? With Fall in full swing, Crowdtap wanted to learn how U.S. adults select the beer brands they spring for at the bar, and the wines and liquors they serve up during weekend picnics at the park.

We leveraged our technology platform to survey 500 Crowdtap community members – U.S. adults (ages 21+) – about what factors influence their beer, wine and spirit purchases. Our big finding: when it comes to alcoholic beverage purchases, word-of-mouth – specifically, peer recommendations and social media – has more influence than traditional advertising (e.g. TV spots and print ads).

Here’s a summary of our key findings and what they mean for alcoholic beverage brands:

Word-of-mouth is driving alcoholic purchases. U.S. adults are heavily influenced by word-of-mouth inputs, as 97 percent say they have taken peer recommendations into consideration when purchasing alcoholic beverages. Further, 80 percent reported having bought an alcoholic beverage they had discovered on social media.

Takeaway: 92 percent of people trust peer recommendations above all other forms of advertising. This marks a significant shift for beverage and spirits brands, as storytelling has moved from a top-down, brand-led model to one in which the voice of the consumer is paramount. Creativity driven social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and partnerships with expert content creators, can help spark conversations and bolster the discoverability of your brand.

Consumers are tapped into social and mobile while shopping for alcoholic beverages. Nearly three-fourths of respondents reported using social media on their mobile devices while actively shopping for alcohol and 62 percent of those say they are sharing their purchases on social media to ask for peer validation of their purchase decisions. More than half of those surveyed said they research cocktail recipes on social media while shopping for alcoholic beverages.

Takeaway: Mobile is fundamentally changing the brick-and-mortar experience for alcoholic beverage brands. Given the “endless aisle,” shopper insight teams in particular will want to explore new ways to ensure their brands are in all places, at all times. Beyond insights, marketers can provide people with opportunities to connect with their brand while in-store, where shoppers are already sharing and validating their purchases via social media.

People want more access to alcohol brands: An overwhelming majority of our respondents said they would like to collaborate with alcohol brands on their product development and marketing. For an industry that has traditionally relied on broadcasting brand-created lifestyles via traditional formats, this finding uncovers a key opportunity to give consumers a more proactive role in the way these stories are told, created and shared – and earn trust in the process.

Takeaway: Inject the consumer voice across all stages of your marketing. Brands can employ iterative, community-based insight methodologies to maintain a pulse on emerging trends and consumer preferences while building advocacy and loyalty along the way. Moreover, marketers can empower advocates to be storytellers on behalf of their brands, inspiring them to share authentic user-generated content and reviews.

Social Side of Alcohol Purchases

Katie Perry is the Director of Marketing at Crowdtap.