Not all liquor stores are created equal: Roy Morgan Research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd February 2016

In encouraging news for alcohol retailers, according to Roy Morgan Research Australians are increasingly distinguishing differences between liquor stores.


In the 12 months to September 2006, 56 per cent of Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in an average four-week period believed that ‘All liquor stores are about the same’. By September 2015, this figure had fallen to 47 per cent.


The proportion who agreed that ‘no single liquor store is best, but two or three are better than others’ rose from 35 per cent to 42 per cent over the same time period. Those who felt that ‘one liquor store is the very best’ crept up from 6 per cent to 9 per cent.


This equates to over half of all Australian alcohol buyers holding the belief some liquor retailers are better than other.


Are all bottle shops the same, are some better than others, or is one the best of the lot?


Graph 1








Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2005 – September 2015 (n=91,329). Base: Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in the last 4 weeks.


Among alcohol-buyers who feel that ‘two or three stores are better than others’, 78 per cent nominated Woolworth’s Dan Murphy’s, ahead of its BWS (38 per cent), Wesfarmers Liquorland (28 per cent) and Wesfarmers 1st Choice (23 per cent). It is worth noting that this order mirrors that of Australia’s top liquor retailers in terms of market share.


Dan Murphy’s is also highly rated among alcohol-buyers who believe that ‘one store is the very best’, 72 per cent of whom nominate the Woolworth’s-owned chain as the store they think is the ‘very best’ of Australia’s liquor stores, with 1st Choice (5 per cent) an extremely distant second.


Roy Morgan Research General Manager of Consumer Products, Andrew Price, said that Dan Murphy dominates the market to the extent it can be considered a “category killer”.


“Not only does Dan Murphy’s lead the field in terms of total dollars spent on alcohol in an average seven days, and in terms of customer satisfaction (winning the Roy Morgan Liquor Store of the Year award for 2015), it is also front and centre of consumers’ consciousness, being the retailer most likely to be nominated by Australian alcohol-buyers who believe that two or three liquor stores are better than others, or that one store is the best of the lot,” said Price.


“So where does this leave other liquor retailers? Between Dan Murphy’s overwhelming prevalence, and the large sector of the alcohol-buying public who think all liquor stores are the same, other retailers seeking a higher profile and/or better public image have their work cut out for them. That’s not to say the challenge is insurmountable, but without a detailed understanding of their target consumers – spanning everything from demographics, attitudes, motivations and media consumption habits –and a communications strategy tailored accordingly, it will certainly be an uphill battle,“ Price concluded.