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The Bring-It-to-Me Economy Comes for Alcoholic Beverages with DoorDash, Uber

The way consumers order alcohol is beginning to look increasingly like the ways they can order other goods they need every day, brought straight to their door within the hour. DoorDash announced Monday (Sept. 20) that it is adding beer, wine and spirits to its delivery marketplace in 20 states, D.C., Canada and Australia. 

The news comes after, early this year, Uber announced that it would acquire alcoholic beverage delivery platform Drizly, though the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently investigating this deal. While a range of popular services exist for people ordering alcoholic beverages online to be delivered at a later date, these moves from major delivery services mark the growth of a very different use case, the “I want it now” occasion.  

See also: DoorDash Adds On-Demand Alcohol Service

Additionally, DoorDash has incorporated its alcoholic beverages into the DoubleDash feature in select markets, a feature that allows consumers to add items from nearby stores to their restaurant meal order. This inclusion makes it possible for consumers to order, say, beer with their burger, further tailoring the online ordering experience to consumers’ to-the-minute needs.  

By the Numbers  

The alcohol on-demand category is growing. Almost half of the 1,200 consumers surveyed by PYMNTS earlier this year reported that they were ordering alcohol for same-day delivery more often now than they did before the pandemic.

Still, the study found that this market is hugely under-penetrated. Only 14% of alcohol drinkers reported that they have purchased alcohol online to have it delivered the same day. For contrast, PYMNTS research from our study  The Bring-It-To-Me Economy, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, found that 48% of consumers are ordering restaurant food to be delivered.

She Said / He Said 

“Over the past year, many cities where we operate evolved their legislation in order to permit the delivery of alcohol to residents’ homes,” Caitlin Macnamara, director of alcohol strategy and operations at DoorDash, said in a statement. “Over that time, we worked tirelessly to build a trusted alcohol ordering and delivery experience for merchants, customers and Dashers.”

For Uber’s part, rather than waiting for legislation to pass in the United States, the company has been delivering alcohol in areas where it is already allowed, seizing on the surging demand for the option.  

“It’s not a surprise that DoorDash has followed us into alcohol,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC Tuesday (Sept. 21). “At Uber Eats, we have alcohol available in 23 countries. It’s up 245% on a year-on-year basis. The categories that we’re going after are ‘fast, frequent’. [As in] what do you want fast, and what do households order frequently?” 

He noted that these categories include “food, grocery, alcohol, pharmacy.” This delineation gives explicit terms to the trend that delivery services have been explaining away recently, the move beyond food into additional categories, which these companies have typically been hand-waving with broad language, such as “everyday goods.”  

Read more: Food Delivery Services Aim To Expand To ‘Everyday Goods’

Khosrowshahi continued that the Uber’s goal is now for consumers to see it as a place where they can “go anywhere [and] get anything you want, anytime.”  

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