How small is the market?

I’m always struck by the size of the spirits category and small number of dedicated drinkers of a particular brand. (Based on US Census and Gallup’s annual survey.)

Let’s do some math (or trust me and skip ahead to the fact that there are ‘only’ 24 million core spirits drinkers)…

  • US population over 21 is around 200 million.
  • 60% of those over 21 drink alcohol at least occasionally, 120 million people.
  • People who drink spirits most often (as opposed to wine or beer) are about 20% of those who drink alcohol. So now we’re down to 24 million spirits drinkers.

(Actually the overall number who drinks spirits is much higher; perhaps 80% of alcohol drinkers or close to 100 million. But I’m focusing on most often, the core of the market.)

The size of the core market at 24 million people can be seen as huge or small depending on your perspective.

If half these drinkers consume Vodka, that’s 12 million people. But, if a brand has a 25% share, the size of the ‘franchise’ is only 3 million consumers.  (The numbers get smaller as you get into different categories.)

What this has always meant to me is, in addition to or perhaps in place of mass media, marketers need to think in terms of ‘a rifle not a shotgun’. Maybe even with a telescopic lens.

Whether aiming at increasing brand loyalty or converting users of competitive brands, it’s all about the return on investment. Efforts such as relationship building programs, digital marketing, database marketing and point of sale programs, to name a few.

Just like the old expression – fish where the fish are… but with a rod and reel not a net.

I bet you knew that.

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