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Beer Drinkers Are Planners

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 6.51.20 AM

I plan to chug this.

Booze is big business.

In 2009, the U.S. market for alcohol was $84.6 billion. Beer represented most of the alcoholic beverages sold in the U.S., at $43.7 billion in 2009. Spirits held $22.2 billion of the market, and wine held $16.9 billion.

Still by global standards American alcohol consumers have some work to do. The U.S. accounted for 16% of the total world market for alcoholic drinks, by value, in 2008. Europe accounted for 57.4%, while the Asia-Pacific accounted for 17%.

To help the U.S. gain on those heavy-drinking Europeans Thought-Tech offers insight into the alcoholic beverage consumer. For marketers and makers it’s good to know who you are selling to.

First, beer is king when it comes to alcohol market share. In 2012 world beer production hit a new high while craft beer production was also exploding. But beer’s reign may be nearing an end. U.S. beer shipment volumes have fallen for three years straight and the wine and spirits market are both growing at pretty significant rates.

A new Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study pulls back the curtain on the consumer’s mindset when they buy alcoholic beverages and highlights some key takeaways to help drive sales.

Traditional beer drinkers are planners. Beer consumers exhibit a high level of planning and habitual in-store behavior. Mainstream domestic beer consumers are purpose-driven, consuming 78% of their purchases on the same day.

In non-research language – beer drinkers say to themselves: I plan to get wasted drinking this 12-pack after work today.

Craft beer consumers, on the other hand, are much more impulsive. Craft beer drinkers make purchases without having a specific occasion in mind. These consumers are attentive to in-store marketing triggers, providing opportunities for specialty and seasonal beers alike.

In non-research language – craft beer drinkers say to themselves: I’ll buy this hazy-yellow White Thai wheat beer — seasoned with coriander, fresh ginger, and lemongrass…just to prove I don’t drink Coors all the time.

Wine drinkers are explorers and make their purchase decisions in-store. Compared to the beer categories, a high level of wine purchase decisions are made in-store (37%), and consumers make 70% of their product decisions at the shelf.

In non-research language wine drinkers say to themselves: What’s the fanciest label I can bring to the dinner party for least amount of cash?

Assessing the motivations of consumption revealed by Nielsen, Thought-Tech boils it down to two buyer personality types: planners and posers. Planners are task oriented while posers are concerned with image. Pretty simple.

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