Businesses in the Online Beer, Wine and Liquor Sales industry sell prepackaged beer, wine and liquor through online stores. The industry has flourished over the past five years, as consumers have increased their reliance on online shopping and e-commerce in general. More Americans are purchasing goods and services online, as it offers convenience by allowing them to browse from the comfort of their home. Additionally, online shopping provides greater ability to evaluate and compare different products and prices. Rising per capita disposable income following 2009 has led households to purchase more-expensive alcoholic beverages. Per capita consumption of alcohol has grown only marginally, but consumers have turned to more high-end products when drinking alcoholic beverages. As a result, the industry is expected to grow by an average annual rate of 12.7% over the five years through 2013. Industry revenue is forecast to grow a slightly slower 9.5% in 2013 to $2.7 billion due to per capita disposable income only growing an anticipated 0.3%.
The industry faces a high level of regulatory attention because of the inherently dangerous side effects of alcohol. Regulation is mostly provided at the state level, as businesses limit the alcohol that can come in from across state borders. Additionally, many states, such as New York, require manufacturers to go through wholesalers and retailers, rather than selling directly to customers. This has somewhat mitigated industry growth over the past five years and is expected to continue to provide a roadblock to industry growth.
Over the five years through 2018, per capita consumption of alcohol is not expected to change significantly. However, rising per capita disposable income and improving consumer confidence will result in more Americans purchasing premium alcohol such as craft beer, fine wines and high-end liquor. Due to rising data capacity and new online offerings, the percentage of services conducted online is expected to increase an average 2.0 percentage points over the next five years, to reach 11.8%. This will help boost industry revenue an annualized 9.0% to $4.2 billion over the five years through 2018.