baby playing with toy

For many, the last months of the year conjure up thoughts of holiday parties, traveling to see loved ones, and special meals and celebrations. With festivities quickly approaching, we polled Americans 21+ who consume alcohol to better understand their buying habits. We wanted to know what they typically buy, what drinks are on their holiday wish lists, and what affects their purchase decisions?

Consumption at Home 

More than half of the American drinkers (61%) we interviewed say they imbibe at least once a week, with 12% reporting they drink almost every day. When using the PureSpectrum Insights Platform to filter by gender, men say that they are much more likely to drink daily than women.

Average cups of coffee Americans consume

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

83% of American drinkers say they typically keep alcohol in their homes. Beer is most commonly consumed (31%)  followed by wine (28%) and then hard alcohol and cocktails (20%). Preferences vary a bit by age and gender but there is one drink that seems to polarize generations: hard seltzer. Gen Z and young Millennial drinkers (21-34) report drinking much more hard seltzer at home vs. Gen X and Baby Boomers.

How brewing preferences change by age

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

71% of our respondents regularly purchase beer at a grocery or liquor store. 64% often buy wine and 59% purchase hard alcohol. Interestingly, preferences skew more towards hard alcohol when purchasing alcoholic drinks at a restaurant or bar. 88% of respondents said they regularly purchase spirits or cocktails when drinking outside of the home. 56% of drinkers then order beer and only 38% say they often choose wine.

Cheers to the Holidays 

When gathering for the holidays, some drinking preferences change. More respondents (34%) say they drink wine when celebrating versus beer (30%) or hard alcohol and cocktails (29%). 6% of respondents say they do not typically drink during holiday celebrations. When asked what drink feels the most festive, our respondents were virtually tied between eggnog (23%) and wine (22%). 15% of drinkers feel that cocktails are the most festive drink and 13% voted for champagne. 5% of respondents also noted that they don’t think of alcohol as festive.

Wine and champagne are also the most popular type of liquor to give during the holidays. 31% of respondents say they gift bottles to other people, followed by bottles of hard alcohol (19%) and alcohol gift sets (17%). 14% of respondents also said they don’t give alcohol as a gift during the holidays. 

Like many customs, it seems that alcohol gift-giving preferences change depending on regional location. When utilizing the cross tab feature of the PureSpectrum Insights Platform, we saw that respondents in the Northeast were more likely to gift a bottle of wine or champagne than respondents in other parts of the country. 

Ungendered baby products

Source: PureSpectrum Insights Platform

“Social” Drinking

In our digital age, it seems that most Americans now get information about varietals, brands, and recipes online. 41% search the internet, and 36% look to social media. Facebook followed by YouTube and Pinterest were the social platforms that our respondents felt taught them the most about alcohol, drink trends, and recipes. 40% of respondents also believe they purchased alcohol after being targeted on a social platform. 

Looking at the holiday consumption trends that our survey uncovered, retailers can expect an increase in wine purchases in the upcoming months. Restaurants will be well advised to offer more holiday cocktails and social influencers should plan what eggnog recipe they want to promote on social media. No matter how you plan to celebrate, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.


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PureSpectrum interviewed 250 online respondents on November 4, 2021, using the PureSpectrum Insights Platform. The platform is integrated with the PureSpectrum Marketplace which combines proprietary measurement tools and third-party data validation to quickly collect high-quality insights. The study fielded in less than 20 minutes and targeted respondents within the United States and consisted of a general population audience of 21+ years old. This study uses a 95% confidence level to examine the data.


About PureSpectrum 

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently, and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognized for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system,  PureScore™, and believes their continued success stems from their talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

In the few years since its inception, PureSpectrum has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s Fast 500 since 2020, and ranked for three years in a row on the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative List and the Inc. 5000 lists.