wine consumer behaviour

Behaviours and buying trends in Wine

wine shopper

In the good old days of the 1970's and 1980's, when I was a boy, parents would gravitate to the highest class bars or restaurant they could afford.  They would try and improve their status going to fancy establishments with white table cloths and annoying sommeliers. When you chose a wine you either went for a sweet Liebfraumilch or a Claret from Bordeaux or something similar so you didn't look stupid and ended up paying well over the odds for crappy wine or needing a mortgage for a second or third growth grand cru . Nowadays things are fortunately very different.  

According to Nielsen's The Wine Market Council survey 2016 the top trends in wine at the moment are:

  • Dining out more and spending more: High frequency wine drinkers on average spend 20 percent dining out and more often than the average. The survey also showed that 24 percent are spending more on wine when they do.
  • Discovery is king : The fastest growing wine categories are Prosecco (particularly in UK and USA), New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,  USA red blends (predominantly California) and French rosé
  • Screw caps aren't putting consumers off
  • Italian food stimulates wine appetites: Wine ordering is highest in Italian eateries. The survey showed 64% of high frequency wine drinkers are very likely to order wine with Italian cooking, and 56% with Steak. Japanese and sushi restaurants had the lowest scores.
  • By the glass rather than by the bottle: Individual wine glass drinking is up and the biggest factor getting someone in a restaurant to order wine is when it is available by the glass.Surprisingly high scores from experts and special restaurant promotions weren't that important
  • Wine spending is up, and spirit sales are starting to soar: In U.S. consumers spent 4.4 percent more on wine at stores in 2016 and 4.7 percent more on spirits, but are cutting back on beer purchases. 57 percent of craft beer drinkers said they are drinking the same amount of wine as a year earlier, and 20 percent said they were uncorking even more wine than before
  • Popular brands held their prices: Consumers are spending more on more expensive wines. Individual wine brands have significantly increased their prices in recent years, launching new products at higher margins 
  • Polarised taste profiles: Drinkers favourites are fresh and refreshing whites, reds and sparkling wines  (which are more food-friendly) or full-bodied reds (especially red blends)
  • Cans are a thing, but will they last? People are buying wine in cans at a much faster rate for different occasions than they buy wine in bottle e.g. sporting events, beaches and parks where bottles are not allowed