In a survey of independents and supermarkets, 28% said price had the most influence on shopper choice – the same as style – with 25% saying heritage was also a key driver.
The research indicates the industry is beginning to shed the legacy of selling at substantial discounts with 71% agreeing that a growing number of consumers will pay more for beer if it has a point of difference.
Merchandising, marketing and pack format were considered the least important cues for consumers, although having beer chilled was seen as crucial for 11% of retailers.
The survey confirmed the growing interest for craft brews with 90% of retailers saying consumers were seeking craft or speciality beers in the past year.
Despite ongoing differences n the trade over the definitions of craft and world beers, only 36% of retailers thought this was hampering their appeal to consumers.
When it comes to persuading shoppers to pay more for beer, perception that it is a craft product was seen by 47% as the main influence.
The fact a product is not mainstream or sold in supermarkets was viewed as important to commanding a bigger price tag by 64%, and 23% said retailer recommendations were vital to encouraging consumers to trade up.
For 87% of those polled, sales of world beer had increased or stayed the same in the last year, compared to 86% for ale sales.