The buzz around the opening of liquor stores in the third phase of the lockdown doesn’t seem to be dying down. Social media has been inundated with memes, photos, and videos of serpentine queues outside liquor stores in Bengaluru and other Indian cities.
In many cases, social distancing norms were also flouted. This has now led to an increased chorus around the online delivery of liquor, with foodtech giants like Zomato reportedly deliberating on entering the segment.
There is massive pent-up demand for alcohol in India, and consumers are increasingly looking for ways to score alcohol online. Searches for the keyword ‘buy liquor online’ has shot up 900 percent this week, according to SEMrush (an online visibility management platform).
Additionally, searches for keywords ‘liquor home delivery’, ‘liquor home delivery near me’, ‘liquor shops’, and ‘wine shops near me’ spiked by 700 percent, 600 percent, 450 percent, and 406 percent respectively, SEMrush reveals in a study.
A sharp growth in searches for various other liquor-related keywords was also reported.
‘Buy liquor’, ‘home delivery of alcohol’, ‘buy beer online’, ‘buy alcohol’, ‘buy wine online’, and ‘wine home delivery’ increased by 200 percent to 340 percent each.
SEMrush explains in the study,
“The highest increase in searches was for ‘buy liquor online’, ‘liquor home delivery’, and ‘liquor home delivery near me’, which suggests that while people want to have alcohol, they are wary of going outside to purchase liquor. Online searches to have alcohol delivered home hint firmly that even after all restrictions are lifted, most people will be wary of coming too close to others and entering the premises of businesses like bars, hotels, and clubs.”
As a result, businesses that are able to deliver liquor products to consumers’ doorsteps will be the greatest beneficiaries of this lockdown-induced pent-up demand.
At present, there is no legal provision for the home delivery of alcohol in India. Industry body International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) is said to be lobbying to amend the regulations in conjunction with Zomato and other foodtech companies.
Following the mad rush outside stores this week, several state governments (Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal) have even raised taxes on liquor by 60 percent to 70 percent in a bid to increase revenues.
States like Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka are also said to be mulling a tax hike on liquor.
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