Drizly study shows retailers doubt CBD impact

25th November, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Less than a third of independent US retailers believe that CBD-infused beverages could “meaningfully grow business”, according to a study by alcohol e-commerce platform Drizly.

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22% of retailers view CBD-infused beverages as a “possible niche at most”

The Drizly Retailer Report 2019, published on Friday (22 November), is a study of more than 200 adults who manage or own independent liquor stores during May 2019, including retailers both on and off the Drizly platform.

The report is Drizly’s first annual study and is said to provide a “backstage view of local bricks-and-mortar alcohol retailing in all aspects”.

“Independent retailers are the lifeblood of our industry and our platform, so understanding what’s working for them, where they see opportunity and what keeps them up at night is essential to helping them thrive,” said Blaine Grinna, director of retail partnerships at Drizly.

“In order to do that, we needed to get a read on not only hard numbers, but also the attitudes and resources that are shaping owners’ and managers’ decision-making, short- and long-term, which was the mission and outcome of this first independent retailer study.”

Among its key findings were retailer thoughts on the impact of cannabidiol (CBD) on drinks, with 22% of retailers viewing it as a “possible niche at most”, while 15% of respondents were not familiar with CBD-infused beverages at all.

When it comes to spirits, Bourbon (40%) was named the category with the most potential to grow business over the next one to three years. The second highest-ranked category was Tequila (9%), followed by Japanese whisky (8%).

In terms of marketing, 70% of retailers cited social media as the most effective marketing tactic for recruiting and retaining customers, ahead of in-store events (64%) and offering delivery (62%). Drizly said this could indicate the “growing influence of millennials in business planning”.

Looking to the future, two-thirds (over 66%) reported higher sales in 2018 compared to 2017, while only 42% of those surveyed saw independent alcohol stores as viable in the long term.

The survey also found that chain retailers (46%) were the biggest challenge for independents, followed by ‘other local independents’ at 36% and grocers at 9%. Major delivery services such as Amazon and Uber Eats received 3% of the vote.

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