Accelerate Category Growth and Unlock the Value of Variety In Your Portfolio
Anheuser-Busch’s IGNITE strategy for driving growth in the beer category has outlined the opportunities for c-store operators to invite new drinkers into the category, expand their consumption into new drinking occasions and encourage them to trade up to more premium varieties. At the heart of this powerful new tool is Anheuser-Busch’s deep understanding about who is drinking, when they are drinking and what drives the choices they make.
The strategy begins with a focus on the category fundamentals, including assortment, price and displays that provide the necessary foundation for convenience stores to have a strong alcohol beverage program. Execution of these fundamentals is the first pillar of the IGNITE strategy, and once that foundation is in place, c-store retailers can focus on the other three objectives of IGNITE: inviting new 21+ drinkers, expanding their drinking occasions and encouraging trade up.
There are two broad categories of consumers who are prime candidates for inviting into the beer category: women and those who are 21+ who have not yet joined the category completely.
Women purchase beer less frequently than men, but they have a growing affinity for drinks such as fruit-forward craft beers, hard seltzers and low-ABV kombuchas.
Women consume 40% of all alcohol in the US. They consume 28% of spirits, and more than their fair share of wine, at 67%. But when it comes to beer, they under-index at just 30% of beer consumption.
Today, 69% of 21- to 34-year-olds purchase alcohol at least once per year. 54% purchase beer. That means 15% of 21- to 34-year-olds are participating in the alcohol category, but ignoring beer completely. That’s 9.5 million people. This group of consumers, which we call beer rejectors, represents an important growth opportunity. If we could get just 10% of them to start buying beer, it would be nearly 1 million more beer shoppers each year.
The One Key Growth Driver to Invite In:
• Savor The Flavor / The Savor The Flavor Growth Driver aims at winning with 21-29 year olds and inviting women who are currently rejecting beer. These consumers can be invited into the category with flavor-forward, sessionable, on-trend alcoholic beverages.
Consumers with a larger repertoire of beer styles they enjoy, in turn, consume more beer overall. There is, therefore, a clear opportunity to drive category growth by expanding the number of beer styles and beer occasions consumers consider. To do this, retailers can consider helping shoppers expand their consideration and realize there is a style of beer that will perfectly fit their needs for many unique occasions.
BEER CAN SATISFY THE THREE MOST COMMON RELAXATION GOALS: UNWIND, REINVIGORATE & TIME FOR ME
Key Growth Drivers To Expand Consumption:
• Evolve Meals / Meals are the biggest and fastest-growing occasion, representing 39% of total alcohol and 36% of beer. Furthermore, alcohol consumption in meals as an occasion is growing 22%. Retailers have an opportunity to drive growth in the beer category by encouraging beer varieties that can be enjoyed with meals of varying style and flavor.
• Reflective Rewards / Consumers have two need states in relaxing occasions: refresh and reinvigorate, and sip and savor. Retailers have an opportunity to unlock growth by winning in this occasion by activating two ways. First, reinforcing lager’s credentials as crisp, cold and refreshing for shoppers looking for refreshment. Second, highlighting the darker, more robust styles and their savoring credentials for shoppers looking for that sipping moment.
• Smart Choices / As consumers seek products that relate to their health-conscious mindset, they are often attracted to low-carb, low-calorie and low-sugar options, along with beers that offer specific on-trend attributes, such as organic ingredients. This also includes lower-ABV options for those seeking moderation. Having these beers properly represented in your assortment includes creating the right signage to highlight these key attributes to make it easy to find for shoppers will help expand consumption among consumers seeking specific attributes.
Consumers are trading up across beer, wine and spirits, making premiumization one of the top drivers of growth for the category. It is important to understand what attributes drive shoppers’ propensity to trade up and activate against them.
Key Growth Drivers to Trade Up
• Image Matters / Consumers in the 21-39 age range, are most likely to purchase more expensive beer that carries a badge value they feel reflects the image they want to portray.
• Social Treat / Another group that has a high propensity for trading up are middle-aged men, who gravitate toward better-quality beverages as a treat during their less frequent social occasions.
While IGNITE provides a solid framework to lead growth in the category, Anheuser-Busch knows it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Contact your local Anheuser-Busch Category Management representative today to learn more about IGNITE.
Find out more about driving category growth using the IGNITE strategy.