Amazon starts selling booze in Australia

Published on the 25/06/2020 | Written by Jonathan Cotton


Amazon sells alcohol_Australia

Whatever your drop, you can now order it online and get it delivered to your door…

International ecommerce giant Amazon has launched an online liquor sales platform in Australia, delivering wine, beer, spirits and more to thirsty digital shoppers all over the country.

Amazon’s latest expansion sees both international and local liquor brands delivered to your door.

“Australian brewers, distillers and wine makers make some of the world’s best beverages from organic wines to Curatif cocktails,” says Amazon Australia country manager Matt Furlong.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen demand for contactless alcohol purchases – and drinking in general – significantly increase.

“We’re particularly thrilled to work with local brands at the launch and help them access our customers, marketing tools and logistics expertise to grow their business.”

Amazon is not the only operator offering home liquor delivery in Australia of course. Both Jimmy Brings and Tipple offer online sales, and Liquorland, BWS and Dan Murphy’s all offer home delivery.

But Amazon’s is a very compelling offer: Not only do they carry a huge range, but spend over $39 and receive free shipping. Or sign up to the Amazon Prime subscription service to get free shipping every time. One thing’s for sure, Amazon’s entry into the local market will be good for consumers at least, as local retailers are forced to lower their prices to compete.

And for Amazon, it’s a good time to be entering the market. Already a $1.3 billion industry in Australia, the coronavirus pandemic has seen demand for contactless alcohol purchases – and drinking in general – significantly increase, with retailers on both sides of the Tasman saying that they have struggled to cope with demand.

According to market research company IBISWorld, the industry’s two largest players, Woolworths and Coles, reported growth in liquor sales of 9.5 percent and 6.1 percent respectively during the March quarter alone. And revenue for the liquor retailing industry is expected to rise in the current year, say researchers, driven by the rising popularity of premium alcohol categories and greater at-home consumption of wine, spirits and beer.

Amazon already provides online liquor sales in the US, UK and Germany. Following its recent inroads into India’s ecommerce market, the company has just been given the green light to offer delivery alcohol services in India’s eastern state of West Bengal, along with Alibaba-backed Indian grocery store outfit, BigBasket.

Not to be too much of a killjoy, but there’s a social cost to all this convenience of course.

Since the Covid outbreak, the NSW government has been growing increasingly concerned about the unregulated liquor sales, recently proposing reforms that would create several new offences, including supplying liquor outside of bottle shop trading hours, failing to verify age for online purchases and supplying liquor to already intoxicated people.

For its part, Amazon Australia has put some controls in place: Customers are required to provide their date of birth at checkout for any purchase from the wine, beer and spirits store, and all alcohol deliveries are age verified upon delivery (Amazon does not currently support unattended deliveries).

Research conducted by Australian National University also found alcohol consumption rising during the Covi-19 crisis. According to the study, almost one-in-four women who drink reported an increase in their alcohol consumption during May 2020. Almost one-in-five men reported an increase during the same period.

That might not look like a significant number, but the devil may be in the detail, with stress a key component of the increase in alcohol consumption.

“For males, a strong predictor for increased drinking was because of a loss of job or decline in working hours,” says co-author Nicholas Biddle of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods. “For females, a strong predictor for increased drinking was having a child-caring role”.

“For both sexes, but particularly males, psychological distress was also a key driver.”

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