Sunday Alcohol Sales
Rolling Back the Blue Laws
Today, 38 states permit Sunday retail sales of distilled spirits products. Reforming outdated Sunday sales restrictions on distilled spirits has been one of the Distilled Spirits Council’s most successful legislative initiatives at the state level. Since 2002, 16 states have joined the list of states allowing Sunday sales: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.
Allowing the sale of distilled spirits on Sundays gives customers added convenience and leads to increased revenues for the state.
Customer Convenience and Impulse Buying
It can be argued that because a single bottle of spirits might last a distilled spirits drinker several months, weekly purchasing opportunities do not matter. However, just as multiple distribution channels are now more important than ever in the consumer packaged goods industry, so too are multiple purchasing opportunities. Consider the following:
For the important 35-54 year old demographic, Sunday is the second most important grocery shopping day of the week. Some 16% of 35-54 year olds do their grocery shopping on Sundays. Since over 43% of total distilled spirits consumers fall into this age category, it means that the distilled spirits industry is denied access to at least 7% of our customer base.
An A.C. Nielsen study concluded that shoppers are more likely to buy on impulse on weekends than on Monday-Friday. By limiting spirits sales to Saturdays only, the amount of impulse susceptible exposure time distilled spirits customers have is cut in half.
Shoppers tend to spend more on Sunday’s than any other day of the week. While the typical grocery basket contains only $23.27 of goods Monday-Saturday, the Sunday basket has $28.23 - 21% more than other days of the week.
Benefits to States
Not only do customers benefit from Sunday spirits sales, but the state benefits as well. Currently, the combination of high excise taxes and limited shopping opportunities depress state liquor sales. Many potential customers either do not buy at all, or simply make their purchases in neighboring states that do allow Sunday sales.
More and more states are rolling back outdated Sunday sales prohibitions, which are legacies of the Blue Laws that once pervaded America. These archaic Blue Laws make no sense in a 21st-century economy, where Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day of the week.