Among Americans who buy alcoholic beverages regularly, online purchasing is still relatively rare.
A survey by The Harris Poll in November 2016 found that 68% of US internet users ages 21 and older purchase alcohol at least a few times per year. Of those, only 12% had made an online alcohol purchase in the past six months, most often of wine (42%) or spirits (35%).
Among total adults of legal drinking age, the proportion who had purchased digitally was just 8%. Not surprisingly, wine was the most common purchase.
This level of digital purchasing is similar to general grocery shopping habits: A Cowen and Company study completed in December 2016 found that 12% of US internet users purchased groceries online last year.
The Harris Poll found that those who had purchased alcohol digitally were distinctly different from those who purchased only in-store—across several demographic categories.
Digital purchasers were younger—with an average age of 39, vs. 49 for in-store only buyers—and skewed male (77% vs. 49%, respectively). Geographically, they were more likely to be from the Northeast (31%), whereas the in-store buyers were most likely to be from the South (34%).