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Independent retailers gain in packaged alcohol market

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2017 - December 2017, n=6,983; January 2018 - December 2018, n=7,039.
Base: Australian 18+, purchased packaged alcohol last 4 weeks.
Although supermarkets still dominate the retail alcohol market with 72.9% of this $15.4 billion market, over the last 12 months their share has fallen from 74.7%. During the same period, the share going to independent retailers has increased from 9.8% to 12.9%, representing a gain of over 130,000 customer compared to gain of only 25,000 for supermarkets.

These are the latest findings from the ‘Roy Morgan Alcohol Retail Currency Report’, which is based on Roy Morgan Single Source, comprising in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their own homes, including over 7,000 purchasers of packaged alcohol. This large sample over many years enables a greater depth of analysis and understanding of long term trends rather than being distracted by the impact of what often turns out to be short term events. 

Supermarkets and Hotel Bottle Shops losing share

The following chart shows that over the last 12 months hotel bottle shops such as Bottlemart, The Bottle-O, Thirsty Camel, and Duncan’s Bottle Shop and supermarket retailers including the Woolworths Group (of Woolworths Liquor, BWS and Dan Murphy’s), the Coles Group (of LiquorLand, First Choice and Vintage Cellars), and other supermarkets (such as IGA and Aldi), had market share losses of 1.8% points. The loss of customers however for hotel bottle shops was bigger with a drop of 235,000, while supermarkets gained 25,000.

While we have seen that the major gains went to independent retailers such as Cellarbrations, Local Liquor and Mac’s Liquor, the minor players such as wine clubs and duty free are at least holding their own and in fact showing small market share gains.

Share of Alcohol Retail Market

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2017 - December 2017, n=6,983; January 2018 - December 2018, n=7,039. 
Base: Australian 18+, purchased packaged alcohol last 4 weeks.

Coles Group show market share gains

The Coles Group currently has a market share of 18.1%, up from 16.5% over the last year and was the only major retailer to gain share. The Woolworths Group remained the clear leader overall with 48.3% but lost 2.2% points in market share due to a 4.2% point drop in the share held by Dan Murphy’s. The smaller supermarkets all lost market share with IGA down 0.5% points (to 2.9%) and Aldi down 0.3% points (to 2.8%).

Share of Alcohol Retail Market – Supermarkets

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2017 - December 2017, n=6,983; January 2018 - December 2018, n=7,039.
Base: Australian 18+, purchased packaged alcohol last 4 weeks.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan, says:

“Competition in the retail alcohol market remains strong, led by a dominant Woolworths Group still holding nearly half the market (48.3%) but over the last year they have lost 2.2% points, while their recently listed competitor, the Coles Group gained 1.6% points in market share (to 18.1%). While the big two supermarket chains are competing, it appears to be largely at the expense of Aldi, IGA and other supermarkets all of whom lost share over the last 12 months.

“Despite the dominance of the supermarkets, the independent retailers have shown a market share gain of 3.1% points (to 12.9%) over the last year and are now ahead of hotel bottle shops which have fallen by 1.8% points to 9.2%. Our research shows a number of drivers of buying behaviour in this market, including proximity to other shops, low prices, an easily browseable range, special offers, expert staff knowledge and good service.

“Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey data can help retailers across the sector understand who their customers are and where they live, work and shop. In addition, our psychographic segmentation tool Helix Personas can help explain customers’ buying behaviour and how to communicate with them.

“The ‘Roy Morgan Alcohol Retail Currency Report’ looks at long and short term trends for market size and share (in dollars), customer numbers and cross visitation, as well as looking in-depth at major supermarket retailers.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Suela Qemal, General Manager - Financial Services & Consulting
Office: +61 (3) 9629 6888

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%