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Not all liquor stores were created equal

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2005 – September 2015 (n=91,329). Base: Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in the last 4 weeks

In discouraging news for alcohol retailers trying to distinguish themselves in a competitive market, almost 50% of Australian adults who buy alcohol in an average four weeks believe that ‘all liquor stores are about the same’. However, an increasing proportion of alcohol-buyers believe that two or three liquor stores stand out from the pack, while an emerging minority think one store in particular is the bee’s knees, according to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.

In the 12 months to September 2006, 56% of Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in an average four-week period believed that ‘All liquor stores are about the same’. By September 2015, this figure had fallen to 47%. Meanwhile, the proportion who agreed that ‘no single liquor store is best, but two or three are better than others’ rose from 35% to 42% over the same time period; and those who felt that ‘one liquor store is the VERY best’ crept up from 6% to 9%.

In other words, just over half of all Australian alcohol buyers believe that some liquor retailers are better than others, a figure that looks set to continue rising as the proportion of ambivalent shoppers declines.

Are all bottle shops the same, are some better than others, or is one the best of the lot?


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2005 – September 2015 (n=91,329). Base: Australians 18+ who purchased alcohol in the last 4 weeks.

Among alcohol-buyers who feel that ‘two or three stores are better than others’, 78% nominated Dan Murphy’s, ahead of BWS (38%), Liquorland (28%) and 1st Choice (23%). It is worth noting that this order mirrors that of Australia’s top liquor retailers in terms of market share, which we reported on recently.

Dan Murphy’s is also highly rated among alcohol-buyers who believe that ‘one store is the VERY best’, 72% of whom nominate the Woolworth’s-owned chain as the store they think is the ‘VERY best’ of Australia’s liquor stores, with 1st Choice (5%) an extremely distant second. 

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

These latest findings confirm what our recent report on the Australian liquor retail market suggested: that Dan Murphy’s dominates the market to such an extent that it can be considered a category killer.

“Not only does Dan Murphy’s lead the field in terms of total dollars spent on alcohol in an average seven days, and in terms of customer satisfaction (winning the Roy Morgan Liquor Store of the Year award for 2015), it is also front and centre of consumers’ consciousness, being the retailer most likely to be nominated by Australian alcohol-buyers who believe that two or three liquor stores are better than others, or that one store is the best of the lot.

“So where does this leave other liquor retailers? Between Dan Murphy’s overwhelming prevalence, and the large sector of the alcohol-buying public who think all liquor stores are the same, other retailers seeking a higher profile and/or better public image have their work cut out for them. That’s not to say the challenge is insurmountable, but without a detailed understanding of their target consumers – spanning everything from demographics, attitudes, motivations and media consumption habits –and a communications strategy tailored accordingly, it will certainly be an uphill battle.... “

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%