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2020 Alcoholism Trends

Throughout last year and the COVID-19 pandemic, we mentioned how alcohol sales were spiking and drinking habits were increasing across the country. Well now, several official stats for 2020 have been released and they are definitely confirming those trends.


The retail site Convenience Store News recently highlighted a story about these latest numbers, referencing a report that was released by a team from the company Drizly. Their research covered the span of March 2020 through March 2021 and touched on several aspects of the wine, beer and spirits industry.


March of 2020, of course, is when the COVID-19 quarantining truly began to take shape. Quarantine lockdowns were put into effect that month and many offices quickly switched to work from home models, changing the lifestyles of millions of Americans. It is also worth noting that a great deal of people lost their income, livelihood and even close relatives throughout those 12 months, which certainly can contribute to the urge to take up drinking.


Looking at the year as a whole, Drizly revealed that alcohol sales rose considerably from the March to March time period, with December being the month where the biggest spike was shown. This actually isn’t too surprising, since other research has revealed that drinking tends to increase around the time of the holidays.


Breaking down the alcohol categories, Drizly highlighted that wine traditionally outsells liquor and beer products on an annual basis. Last year, however, liquor rose to the top, accounting for 41 percent of the category share. This too is a dangerous trend, as hard liquor such as vodka, tequila and whiskey can do more damage to the body at a faster rate.


Online buying habits of alcohol saw some shifting trends as well. Over the past several months, average order volumes increased by 50 percent with people spending an average of $75 for each purchase. It is believed that this increase had to do with a “stock up mentality,” where people were unsure of how long they would be home and how available certain alcohol products would become.


And if you’re curious about the actual brands that have been responsible for those sales numbers, the report provided a list for that as well. Rising to the top of bestselling alcohol names in 2020 were Jose CuervoSkinnygirl and Bacardi. Drizly’s head of research concluded the data with some predictions of what we may expect this coming year.


“In 2021, the pandemic impact will likely be felt differently across the country,” Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights, told Convenience Store News. “Some cities and states will start to open sooner as vaccination occurs, shifting alcohol purchases from online sites and supermarkets to bars and clubs. It’s something we intend to watch very closely and evaluate.”