We might not have had to fight our way to the front of the bar over the past year thanks to the global pandemic, but that doesn’t mean our drinking habits have gone unnoticed during lockdown. In fact, according to a survey by Global Web Index into online alcohol purchasers in the UK, our preferred tipple says a lot about who we are.

If you’re a Guinness drinker, you are likely to be sociable and eco-conscious. If you’re a Peroni drinker, you probably earn a higher than average salary. A whisky drinker is into self-improvement and personal growth, whereas gin-drinkers are fitness fanatics, and rum drinkers are open-minded and adventurous, according to the GWI report: Exploring alcohol purchasing & drinking behaviours in the UK.

The survey highlights the amazing volume of information available to drinks businesses about who is buying their products online, how those consumers behave in the digital arena and what their preferences say about them as individuals. This makes it possible for savvy marketers to work out their target audience in a very precise way, not simply because of the age, gender or location of prospective consumers, enabling them to consider how consumers feel about themselves and the ways their choices intersect with their sense of identity.

Ultimately, the more you know about your consumer the more likely you are to advertise in a way that is relevant to them, and this, in turn, makes them more likely to engage with what you are offering.

Examining this kind of data also makes it possible to identify gaps in the market. For example, the GWI report shows that younger generations (Generation Z and Millennials) are the biggest online shoppers, but they’re lagging well behind Baby Boomers and Generation X when it comes to buying alcohol online. This highlights a clear opportunity for marketers to reach and engage the upcoming generation of online-first consumers (so long as they’re age 18+, of course).

It is crucial to anticipate how consumer behaviour might change in response to shifts in the global or socioeconomic climate. Another GWI report, Alcohol Purchasing Behaviours amid Covid-19, reveals the impact of the pandemic on buying habits, highlighting that people who purchased alcohol online during this period were more likely than other internet users to engage with all forms of media, including streaming services, social media, gaming and news.

Being able to identify and examine emerging trends in behaviour is important for effective marketing and, crucially, the GWI report also tells us where different types of consumers hang out online. For example, 70% of beer drinkers watched more news coverage during the pandemic, whereas 64% of whisky drinkers listened to more music streaming services. YouTube and Facebook were the top destinations for consumers during this period, with more than half of those in each generational category (Gen Z to Boomers) saying they use Facebook more than once a day, and 93% of Gen Z having used YouTube recently.

While working out where your consumers are and what their behaviour means is vital for good marketing, it’s not just about how you specifically market to them that’s important. At a higher level, it’s what your brand tells them, and by extension, what your brand tells everyone else when someone chooses it.

For example, if we know that a decent proportion of beer drinkers are eco-conscious, and especially those who drink Guinness, it presents an opportunity to incorporate values related to sustainability into marketing and communication activities. Marketers can therefore seek to strengthen not only the bond of these consumers with their brands, but can send a clear message — in this case, that the environment is important— each time someone reaches for their preferred beverage. I think we can all drink to that.