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Top online marketplaces for alcohol in the UK

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21/02/2022 The UK takes third place in the sale of online alcohol sales and these online e-commerce places are making the most of it.

With convenience and safety being of utmost importance during the pandemic, the sale of alcohol went up, especially through e-commerce websites. Shutting down of supermarkets and off licences led to people resorting to online purchasing of alcohol which caused a huge surge in online sales. There has been a wave of innovation and development in the e-commerce sector and alcohol is a major part of it. According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, alcohol e-commerce sales are projected to be more than US$42 million by 2025 across the key markets of the world. This accounts for an increase in growth by 66%. Many brands and retailers are paying attention to the potential of e-commerce alcohol sales and venturing out to sell their brands online directly to the consumers. 

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According to the IWSR data, the UK accounted for a great share of alcohol purchased online which was mainly driven by special occasions and gifting. Thus, the UK has a very high internet penetration. The pandemic had a huge impact on the UK alcohol market and the online sale of alcohol had grown by two-thirds in 2020. 

The e-commerce marketplaces for alcohol have a well-curated selection of wines, spirits, beers, and cocktails and offer an enormous variety of choices to the consumers. Increase online literacy, choices, convenience, and the amount of information available ensure that online sales of alcohol are on a growth curve for the long term. 

Guy Wolfe, Strategic Insights Manager for IWSR Drinks Market Analysis shares that as e-commerce develops more and more every day, price is inevitably becoming more of a factor within the consumers and they are switching more readily between different marketplaces which are causing an increase in competition within the private-label brands and the discounters. 

The UK has been forecasted to have a growth in e-commerce of alcohol categories where the largest share is accounted for by Wines followed by Beers and Spirits. 21% of the e-commerce alcohol sales would account for Spirits as these categories tend to perform less in groceries and supermarkets but higher on the online marketplaces. Beer represents nearly 29% of the sales online and it is expected to gain a greater share over the next five years. Wine is the most developed e-commerce category and is accounting for 51% of online alcohol sales and is expected to generate the highest incremental value.

Forecasted Online Alcohol Sales in UK in 2024

Forecasted Online Alcohol Sales in the UK in 2024; Image Adapted from The IWSR

These online marketplaces for alcohol in the UK are already accounting for a great share of alcohol e-commerce. If you are a wine, spirits, or beer brand, these are great platforms to get your brand registered to be sold online. If you are a consumer, these marketplaces offer a great selection of alcoholic beverages at great prices along with great discounts. 

Waitrose Cellar

Waitrose Cellar

Waitrose has been always associated with a premium brand and has always lived up to it. The Waitrose Cellar is a great platform that offers a wide selection of fine wines and champagnes, spirits, and beers to choose from. They constantly have some discount offers running which gives you an option of purchasing fine wines and spirits in bulk. 

Delivery Options 

Standard Delivery - Between 2-3 working days for £5.95, Free on orders above £150

Named Day Delivery - £8.95 or Free if orders are above £250

Click and Collect - £3.95 on orders below £100, Free on orders above £100

DrinkWell UK

DrinkWell UK

Launched in 2012, DrinkWell’s main focus has been on providing low-calorie alcohol across the UK. With a variety of options available, they sell wine, spirits, beers, hard seltzers, and a lot more. Over the years they have perfected their range and offered drinks that are highest in quality, truly innovative, and something that delights their consumers. They pay huge attention to consumer retention and which is why they have a ‘Happiness Promise Policy’ where they replace or refund any bottle that you don’t like. 

Delivery Options

DPD 24 Hour Delivery - £5.99

Highlands & Island 2 Day Delivery - £9.99

Northern Island 2 Day Delivery - £9.99

DPD Saturday Delivery - £7.99

Master of Malt

Master of Malt

An online retailer of spirits, Master of Malt has been in the e-commerce game for a long time. They have a huge collection of whiskies with mostly any vintage you are looking for. Their spirits collection has some exquisite rums and gins. They also offer some regional spirits like Pisco, Shochu, etc. that are hard to source. Apart from the online sales of bottles, they also offer drink experiences where you can learn about the distilleries, buy bar accessories or learn how to make a cocktail. 

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery - £3.95, Free on orders above £99

You can find more information about wholesale delivery and shipping to other destinations here.

Amazon UK

Amazon UK

The most used e-commerce platform in the UK, Amazon offers a great range of alcohol online along with convenient delivery services. You can find any wine, spirits, whisky, etc. here along with their ratings and the awards they have received over the years. It has an easier interface and an easy return policy. Not just this, it also lets you compare the price with other sellers on Amazon, and shortlists the best price for you. It requires you to confirm your age on delivery.

Delivery Options 

Depends on the seller in your area

Aldi UK

Aldi UK

The German supermarket chain in the UK offers products at discounted rates and has also created wines and spirits under their own private label out of which one of them has even won an award. Aldi UK offers an amazing range of spirits ranging from traditional spirits to new exciting ones in the market. They offer them at great prices and discounts throughout the year.

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery - 3-5 working days, £4.95

Specialbuys Large Item Delivery - 2-7 working days, £3.95

Specialbuys Extra Large Item Delivery - 2-7 working days, £9.95

CollectPlus Delivery - Allows you to buy online and collect from a nearby CollectPlus point, £4.95

The Bottle Club

The Bottle Club

From low-spirit alcohol to barware, they are a one-stop solution for everything you need in your bar. The Bottle Club has an interactive website that has an extensive collection to choose from. They also have an easy-to-use app that lets you order with just a few taps. They offer several payment options and offer free UK delivery on orders above £100.

Delivery Options

Standard UK Delivery - 5-7working days, £4.99, Free on orders above £100

Next Day Delivery - £7.99

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer

Offering a premium range of wines, spirits, and beers, M&S offers some great options on cases that consist of a variety of 6 bottles. They have a range of award-winning wines and even have their own range of private labels of wines and spirits. The M&S Gin has also won several awards. Their online website lets you choose wines depending on your choice of wine, grape variety, country, and suitability with your diet. 

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery - 3-5 working days, £4.99, Free for orders above £100

Nominated or Next Day Delivery - £6.99, Free on orders above £150

The Whiskey Exchange

The Whiskey Exchange

From Products of the Month to Trends in the spirits industry, the Whisky Exchange is an award-winning e-commerce website for all your beverage related needs. Founded in 1999, they are the internet’s number-one specialist retailer of whisky and other spirits. They have a range of 3,500 Whiskies, 500 Rums, 400 Vodkas, 500 Cognacs/Armagnacs, 400 Gins, 150 Tequilas, and nearly 1,000 Liqueurs to choose from. They have a separate range for whiskey, spirits, and wine of the month and they offer great discounts on special occasions.  

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery 

Express Delivery

Click & Collect

Spirit.Ed

Spirit.Ed

Formerly known as 31Dover, Spirit.Ed has an aesthetic website and offers a stunning range of wines, spirits, and beers along with some exciting offers on them. They also run an agency where they are dedicated to sourcing, importing, and distributing drinks in the UK market. If you are a new alcohol brand in the UK market, they are a great help with championing your brand’s taste and design.

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery - £9.99 for orders below £30, £4.99 for orders above £30 and below £90, Free on orders above £90

Next Day Delivery

Saturday Delivery

DrinkSupermarket

DrinkSupermarket

Offering convenience, service, and value, DrinkSupermarket serves the best-quality drinks at your doorstep. It allows you to search for any alcohol you are looking for. They have a stock of a vast range of products, from glitzy champagnes to rustic ales, along with a fantastic variety of whiskies and rare spirits. They offer drinks to suit every occasion, meal, and even mood.

Delivery Options

Standard Delivery - 3-5 working days, £5.95, Free on orders above £99

Express Delivery - £7.95, Free on orders above £99

Weekend Delivery - £9.95, Free on orders above £99

Read more information on delivery for different regions and weights here.

Article by Shreya Kohli, Beverage Trade Network

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