A Convenient Truth? Supermarkets Sweep Off Licences to One Side

April 2014

Almost 80 per cent of consumers are now buying wine exclusively at the supermarket, according to our latest research.

A recent study commissioned by Encirc Wines revealed that only six per cent of Brits purchase wine at an off licence, suggesting that convenience is a major driver, as consumers prefer the convenience of ‘having everything in the same place’ to the specialist offering of wine merchants.

While European wine from heavyweight producer countries like France, Spain and Italy remained well liked, New World wine – especially that from Australia – was revealed to be leagues ahead in the popularity stakes, with one in five declaring a preference for wine from down under.

It seems that when it comes to cost, the UK is a nation of bargain hunters, with shoppers prepared to pay, on average, £5.83 for a bottle. The report has also revealed a more relaxed attitude to screw top wine, with more than half of respondents saying they would happily forego a corked bottle in favour of its more convenient alternative.

These latest statistics paint a picture of an increasingly globalised market. With consumers demanding more grape varieties and products needing to travel longer distances, a growing number of producers are taking advantage of bulk shipping as a cost efficient route to market that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Our sales and marketing director, Gillian Walters, said: “The results of this research really do give us an insight into how changing consumer habits are affecting producers, importers and merchants. Supermarkets have become major players in the wine market, as consumers are increasingly prioritising convenience and price over the expertise of wine merchants and off licences.

“What’s particularly interesting is that shoppers are now demanding high quality wine from far flung producer countries, but for an affordable price. As supply chain technologies advance and overseas producers begin to embrace the cost benefits of bottling in the UK, we’ll begin to see even more top notch yet affordable New World wine hit our shelves.”

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