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Online alcohol pre-orders pour in ahead of unbanning

Read time 2min 50sec

South Africans are wasting no time in placing their booze orders online for delivery when the country enters level three of lockdown next week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced over the weekend that retailers and liquor stores will be able to sell alcohol on specified days and for limited hours from 1 June.

However, online shopping site OneDayOnly.co.za says sales of alcohol – and wine, in particular − have been steadily increasing since May, while alcohol and grocery delivery appsQuench and Bottles have witnessed an increase in interest from consumers.

“Increasingly more South Africans are placing orders in anticipation of the alcohol restrictions being lifted next week,” says Matthew Leighton, spokesperson for OneDayOnly.co.za.

“In terms of comparison of April versus May, we saw a sales increase of 220% in May, more than double.”

OneDayOnly.co.za provides customers with 24-hour deals of between 20% and 80% off on items across various retailers.

During level four,the e-tailer allows customers to order and pay for all items; however, delivery is only offered for essential goods.

Based on these statistics, Leighton predicts alcohol stores will be absolutely packed come 1 June and the e-tailer is already offering up to 50% off some of its premium wine blends and brands.

Enrico Ferigolli and Vincent Viviers, co-founders of Bottles, say they are working around the clock to prepare for the anticipated massive influx of orders next week.

“Since the president announced the resumption of alcohol sales from 1 June, we have had an overwhelming response and inquiries from our customers who are ready and excited to use our service to purchase liquor, along with their groceries,” notes Ferigolli.

Since the ban on alcohol, the delivery app had pivoted to selling grocery and essential products in partnership with Pick n Pay.

“We have more than trebled our order volume since lockdown began in March, with the introduction of grocery and essentials. Once we restart alcohol deliveries, we expect to see another significant spike in volume, noting that we will continue to deliver grocery and essential items alongside liquor,” says Viviers.

Liam McCreedy,MD of Quench, says while the delivery app will only be taking online pre-orders for alcohol from Saturday, there has been a massive increase in app downloads.

“Since lockdown on 26 March, we have seen a 200% increase in app downloads and 600% increase in sales with our expansion to offer grocery deliveries in partnership with Woolworths.We are eager and excited to start trading liquor again. We are more ready than ever before to handle the spike in orders for June,” notesMcCreedy.

Considering the growing role e-commerce has played in South Africa’s shopping practices during lockdown, Leighton explains why online sales go hand-in-hand with the re-introduction of alcohol sales: “Since regulations were lifted on e-commerce under level four of lockdown, we’ve seen a sizeable increase across all major indicators – sales, new shoppers and number of items per order.

“This growing uptake of online shopping across the country has allowed e-tailers to ramp up delivery capabilities over time, while ensuring all necessary health and safety measures are firmly in place.”

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