A Look at the Past to See What Holidays Will be Busiest This Year

The days leading up to the end-of-year holidays are always some of the busiest for retailers. In 2022, for example, the days with the highest average order value on Drizly led up to Christmas: Dec. 22, 23, and 21, respectively. By looking back at purchasing trends during the busy holiday season, retailers can gain insights that can be used to prepare for holidays and other occasions in 2023.

Major holidays and the weekends are often when consumers “basket build,” or prepare purchases ahead of typical days off. Orders and the average number of items purchased on Drizly increase leading up to Thanksgiving and peak on the Wednesday before the holiday, for example, and the same is true with Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. On a smaller but more regular basis, consumers tend to basket build Wednesday through Friday ahead of the weekend, Drizly says.

In 2022, Drizly orders started to climb earlier ahead of the holidays than during the prior year, and that was especially the case for new buyers. Other holidays and holiday weekends in the first quarter like Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, President’s Day weekend, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day had similar earlier basket building patterns as the fourth quarter holidays.

Over the 2022 Q4 holidays, there was a seasonal boost in wine (particularly red wine and sparkling and Champagne subcategories) gift orders on Drizly.

“In 2022, gift orders over-indexed on wine compared to standard orders with 50% share of gifts falling under wine compared to 37% of standard orders,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “Gifts also over-index on liquor at 46% share versus 45% share for standard orders. Meanwhile, beer under-indexes for gifts at just 3% share compared to 16% of standard orders.”

The holiday season in 2022 saw higher average unit prices across all three major categories on Drizly. Liquor saw a 14% increase ($28.91 to $32.99), wine an 18% increase ($19.16 to $22.65), and beer a 3.7% increase ($15.33 to $15.90).

“The biggest takeaway retailers should know from this data is that consumers clearly shop differently when it comes to holidays and occasions compared to standard day to day shopping,” says Paquette. “They plan out their buys early, shop different categories and spend more overall—all of which retailers should consider when building marketing and merchandising plans for these holidays.”

Demographic Purchasing Differences

Wine is declining across all generations and Gen Z is showing the largest decline. Data from Nielsen IQ shows that in the 52-week period ending in March 2022, overall wine sales decreased by 5.2% compared to the same time period a year earlier.

Sparkling wine, including Champagne, however, appears to be an outlier. According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data, the volume of bubbly is on the rise and poised to continue its growth as consumers shift the occasions that they purchase sparkling wine.

According to IWSR consumer data, Gen Z purchasers tend to consume more vodka and tequila, while millennials tend to prefer vodka followed by similar rates for American whiskey and tequila, as well as relatively higher rates for Champagne and sparkling wine. Gen X and baby boomers tend to be stronger purchasers of still wine followed by vodka and American whiskey.