The Future is Bright for US Wine in 2017: Statistics from 2016 Paint Rosy Picture

Many of the statistics for 2016 US wine sales are in and the results are rosy. Optimism is high that 2017 will continue to see the small but steady growth pattern of previous years, at around 1 to 3% volume and 2 to 4% in value. According to Wines & Vines (2017), total US wine sales approached $60 billion in 2016, with an estimated $39.8 billion in sales from domestic wine and the remainder from imports.

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US Wine Consumption Positive in 2016

Hot trends continue in brisk sales of red blends, sparkling, and rose, with a surprising surge in sauvignon blanc sales in 2016 (Nielsen, 2017). Sangria continues to be a sought after wine choice at an estimated 9.3% volume increase (BW166, 2017). The most positive news, however, comes in the form of premiumization, with many Americans “buying up” and spending more money per bottle. The average bottle price is now $10, making the US wine market the largest in both volume and value (Nielsen, 2017).

Positive Stats for US Wine Industry in 2016

  • Revenues for US Wine Sales = estimated $39.8 billion, a 5% increase from 2015 (Wines & Vines, 2017)
  • Total US Wine Sales Revenue including imports = estimated $60 billion (Wines & Vines, & BW166, 2017)
  • Total Cases Shipped = 399 million, up 3% from 2015 (GFAWine, 2017)
  • Growth: 2016 is the 24th consecutive year of grown for US wine sales slide1

Imports Vs. Domestic Markets by Volume

  • Domestic Wine Sales = 67.1%
  • Imported Packaged = 25.4%
  • Imported Bulk = 7.5%

(Source: BW166, 2017)

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Wine Sales Channels

 Off-Premise – roughly 78.75% of US market with an average bottle price of $10. According to Nielsen (2017) volume grew at double digits in the following categories: $11-$14.99, $15-$19.99, $20-$24.99, $25+, but only at 3.2% for $8 -$11.99 and negative growth below $8 per bottle. Despite this, 58% of wine sold in the US is still under $8 per bottle, not including boxed wine.

On-Premise = estimated at 20% of the US market with an average bottle price of $40, but is still relatively flat with only .2% value growth and -1% volume. It is presumed the higher cost of wine at restaurants/bars compared to beer and cocktails, as well as other factors are creating this lack of growth. (BW166, 2017; Nielsen, 2017).

Direct to Consumer (DTC) = though still only 1.25% volume of the total US market, DTC is booming with 5 million cases shipped, an increase of 17.1% over 2015. Even more positive are the revenues at $2.33 billion, an increase of 18.5% over 2015 (Kirschenmann, 2017; ShipCompliant, 2017).

Amazing Fact: In the US, there are now 550,000 locations that sell wine, an increase of 120,000 outlets over the past ten years. Some of the innovative new locations to sell wine include bookshops, movie theaters and car washes. (Nielsen, 2017).

 Growth of US Wineries and Exports

  • Number of US Wineries in 2017 = 9,091 (Fisher, 2017), up 4% from 8702 wineries in 2016.
  • Five Largest Wine States by # of Wineries: California 4202, Washington = 747, Oregon, 713, NY = 385, Texas = 287
  • US Exports – $1.62 billion in 2016, up from 1% from 2015. Volume = 412.7 million liters or 45.9 million cases. (Wine Institute, 2017)

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US Consumers Continue to Embrace Wine

  • 120 million Americans drink wine – approx. 36% of 330 million (Nielsen, 2017).
  • Per capita global ranking = #42
  • Gender Percentage = 57% female and 43% male (Nielsen Spectra, 2016)
  • High Frequency Wine Drinkers = 38% drink weekly (Nielsen, 2017)
  • Largest Wine Consuming Generations = Millennials and Baby Boomers (Wine Market Council, 2016)
  • Americans continue to prefer wine and spirits over beer, even with popularity of craft beer (Nielson, 2017).

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 Hot Varietals and Trends Now and for 2017

The Five Most Popular Wine Varietals/Styles are 1) chardonnay, 2) cabernet sauvignon, 3) red blends, 4) pinot grigio, and 5) pinot noir (WBM, 2017). This is expected to continue in 2017, though chardonnay is not growing as fast as the other categories.

Sparkling Wines continue to sizzle with double digit growth. Prosecco leads at 17% of category with $12 – $20 as a sweet spot (Nielsen, 2017). There is room for additional sparkling in the market, as consumers are expected to crave more bubbles in 2017.

Rosé is still all the rage, with Provence rosés in the lead with a 64% dollar share. However, all price points over $5 per bottle are doing well (Nielsen, 2017), and expected to continue in 2017.

Sangria continues to surge with a 9.3% volume increase in 2016, though most Americans prefer to drink it in warmer months, so summer of 2017 should be positive for Sangria (BW166, 2017).

Sauvignon Blanc, especially from NZ, captured strong increases in both volume and dollar value, with expectations for increased sales in 2017 (Nielsen, 2017).

Innovation in wine containers, packaging and product will continue in 2017. For example, the introduction of wine in aluminum cans in 2015 was appealing to some consumer segments (Thach & Chang, 2016).

Premiumization – with a higher consumer confidence rating in 2017, it is expected that consumers will continue to trade up to more expensive wines.

Acquisitions and start-ups within the wine industry are expected to continue in 2017, even with higher interest rates (McMillan, 2017).

Sources:

BW166 (2017). Wine Imports and Exports Report. Available at: http://bw166.com/product/wine-import-export/
Fisher, C. (2017). Number of US Wineries Reaches 9,091. Wine Business Monthly, Jan. 2017, p. 72-77.
GFAWine. (2017). Total wine shipments to the US expanded 3% to 399 million cases in 2016.  Available at: https://www.gfawine.com/blog/1
Kirschenmann, E. (2017). State of the States: 2016 Banner Year for DTC Shipping. Winebusiness.com, Jan. 13, 2017. Available at: https://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataid=179038
McMillan, R. (2017). 2017 SVB Wine Report. Silicon Valley Bank. Available at: https://www.svb.com/wine-report/
Nielsen (2017). State of the Industry – What’s Selling. Presentation by Danny Brager at Unified Wine Symposium. Sacramento, CA: Jan. 25, 2017.
ShipCompliant (2017). 2017 Direct to Consumer Report. Available at: http://go.sovos.com/rs/485-CPP-341/images/DtC_17_012516_web.pdf
Thach, L. & Chang, K. (2016). Adventure, Tradition, and Semi-Sweet Wines Highlighted in 2016 American Wine Consumer Survey. Winebusiness.com, Dec. 6, 2016. Available at: https://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataid=177492
WBM (2017). Retail Sales Analysis – Off Premise Wine Sales up .08 Percent. Wine Business Monthly, Feb. 2017. P. 142.
Wine Institute (2017). California Wine Exports Reach Record $1.62 Billion in 2016. Feb. 14, 2017. Available at: https://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/pressroom/02142017

Wine Market Council (2016). Overview of US Wine Industry. Presentation by John Gillespie at 11th Annual Wine Market Council Research Conference on U.S. Wine Consumer Trends. Jan. 25, 2016. New York, NY.

Wines & Vines (2017). Domestic Wine Sales Nudge $40 Billion in 2016. Winesandvines.com. Jan. 13, 2017. Available at: https://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=widc&widcDomain=USwineSales

Photo Credit: Veer BLP0011526

 

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Preferences of American Wine Consumers

(Originally published in Winebusiness.com, Dec. 6. 2016)

Wine degustation on the vineyard

What Do American Wine Consumers Want?

With a hotly contested election in the US, Britain exiting the European Union, the Zika virus arriving from South America, and thousands of Syrians fleeing the Middle East, no one can claim it has been a boring year. Perhaps this is why American wine drinkers seem to be more adventurous in some aspects of their wine preferences in 2016, yet seek tradition in others.

The results of the 2016 Survey of American Wine Consumer Preferences have just been released, and these themes as well as others are highlighted. As always the information gives a glimpse into the types of wines Americans are drinking, as well as their reasons for doing so, average prices paid for wine, shopping locations, social media usage, and the answers to a few new questions on luxury wine, packaging and label design.

About the Survey and Sample – 1081 American Wine Consumers from 50 States

First conducted in 2014, this is the third annual survey, and was launched in May of 2016. It was developed by SSU researchers who contracted with Survey Sampling International to collect household panel data from wine drinkers across the nation.

The final sample included 1081 American wine consumers (58% women and 42% men) with all 50 states represented. In terms of age, 29% were Millennials ages 21-39; 22% were Gen Xers ages 40-50; 40% were Baby Boomers ages 51-69, and 9% were from the Greatest generation, aged 70 and above. It should be noted that in the 2015 survey there were 56% Millennials and no members of the Greatest Generation, which could explain some of the changes observed in this year’s survey results.

The median annual income of the sample was $50,000 – $69,999, but 25% made over $100,000 per year. Ethnicity was 81% Caucasian, 5% Hispanic, 7% African-American, and 5% Asian. The sample was highly educated with 62% having a college degree compared with 32% of the US population (US Census, 2014). In terms of marital status, 58% were married and 30% had children under the age of 18 living at home.

Preferred Wine Varietals and Style – “Semi-Sweet Trumps Fruity”

American wine drinkers in this year’s sample included 48% high frequency drinkers who consume wine daily or several times per week (Wine Market Council, 2015). The remaining 52% are considered to be occasional drinkers.

The top five favorite varietals for the 2016 sample were the same as in previous years with chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and pinot grigio as the most preferred. This matched with Nielsen scan data as the five most popular selling varietals in the US (52 weeks ending 09/10/16). Overall, American wine consumers in 2016 said they preferred the following types of wine: red (73%), white (68%), rose (36%), sparkling (31%), dessert (13%) and fortified (5%).

In 2015, a new question regarding preferred style of wine was added: How do you prefer your wine to taste? Check all that apply. Interestingly semi-sweet replaced fruity as the most preferred style in 2016. It is possible this may be due to the popularity of red and white blends in the US market, of which many include a small amount of residual sugar. At the same time, the 2016 sample also shows an increased preference for dry wine styles compared to 2015 respondents.slide1

Wine Knowledge and Reasons to Drink Wine – “Taste and Relaxation”

When asked to describe their level of wine knowledge, 57% of the 2016 sample said they had intermediate wine knowledge, while 26% identified as wine novices, 15% as having advanced wine knowledge and only 1% claimed to be wine connoisseurs or experts.

Enjoying the taste of wine remained the number one reason why Americans like to drink wine, at 80% of the sample. Relaxation (at 61%) and pairing with food (55%) were the second and third reasons. In general the 2016 sample cited fewer overall reasons for drinking wine, which could be attributed to differences in the sample or interest in other beverages.slide2

Decision-Making on Which Wine to Purchase – “Price and Brand Rule”

In 2015 and 2016, price (at 80%) and brand (at 67%) continue to be the two most important factors considered by American consumers when purchasing wine (See Graph 3). Moreover, varietal appeared to be more important to the 2016 consumer, and region/appellation to some extent.

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Similar to 2014 and 2015, fewer American wine consumers make wine purchase out of environmental concerns. Only 7%, 4%, and 2% of the sample indicated that they looked for organic, sustainable, and biodynamic wines, respectively, as part of their wine purchase decision making. Such results are consistent with prior research in that many Americans believed wine to be a natural drink. A possible confusion about many environmental and organic certifications advertised on the market (Sullivan, 2010) may have made these attributes less important.

Wine Pricing and Luxury Purchases

Since the Great Recession of 2008, Americans have been slowly increasing their spending on wine. In 2016, this continued to be the case:

  • Buying Wine to Drink at Home: the most common price was $9 – 15 per bottle at 51% of the sample. However 15% will spend $15 to 20, and 5% will spend more than $20 per bottle to drink at home.
  • Buying Wine to Drink at a Restaurant: the most common price was $26 – 35 per bottle at 21% of the sample, but 12% will spend $36 to 45, and 8% will spend above $46. A surprising 25% reported they only buy wine by the glass at a restaurant, with 47% spending $7 to 10 per glass, 11% spending $11 – 15 per glass, and 3% spend over $15 per glass.
  • Luxury Wine Purchases: given the improving economy in the US, a question regarding luxury wine price was added. In 2016, 44% of Americans reported they have spent over $50 for a bottle of wine, 19% over $100, 5% over $200, and 2% over $1000 per bottle. Their main reasons for doing so were: 1) for a special occasion (60%); 2) to enjoy (53%); 3) as a gift (42%); and 4) for my cellar (12%).

Wine Purchase Locations – “Wine Shops and Grocery Stores Dominate”

As in previous years, the most common location for wine purchases in the US is a Wine/Liquor Store, followed by a Grocery Store, and then a Discount/Warehouse store, such as Target or Costco. Online wine purchases continue to be low with only 7% of the 2016 sample reporting they often or almost always make wine purchases this way, and 71% reporting they have never purchased wine online. It is possible that higher delivery prices in the US as well as concerns over temperature control, adult signature requirements, and other issues are contributing to this. Other countries, such as China, the UK and France have a higher percentage of consumers purchasing wine online (Bressolles, 2016).

Wine Social Media & App Usage – “Down Slightly in 2016”

Perhaps due to a lower percentage of Millennials in the 2016 sample, only 88% reported using social media compared to 94% in 2015. Despite this, the most popular platform – Facebook – remained in the number one position; however YouTube surpassed Twitter by a small percentage. When talking about wine online, 25% search for information about wine, 22% share a wine experience and/or label, 20% ask friends for wine recommendations, and 17% look at a winery fan page. Again these percentages are lower than the 2015 survey, perhaps because fewer Americans in the 2016 sample reported owning a smart phone, and the question format was changed to yes/no rather than a scale.

Wine app usage was also lower with the 2016 sample – perhaps again due to lower smart phone usage. The most popular wine apps were: Winesearcher in #1 position, Vivino at #2, and Hello Vino and Delectable tied at #3.

Label and Packaging Preferences – “Both Adventurous and Traditional”

A couple of new questions about wine packaging and label design were added to the 2016 survey. Americans were asked their opinion on five wine packaging options (see Graph 4) to see how accepting they are of alternatives. Results show that Americans may be more adventurous than previously thought with 89% happy with screw caps, 75% with single serving bottles, 60% with boxed wine, 40% with wine in pouches, but only 20% willing to buy wine in cans. This could be because the canned wine option is a relatively recent addition to the US market.slide4There have been several research studies showing that the majority of consumers prefer traditional style wine labels when determining which wine to select (Elliot & Barth, 2012; Boudreaux & Palmer, 2007). Therefore a new question illustrating three fictional wine label designs was included. Survey takers were asked “Which of the following wine label styles appeals to you the most?” Supporting prior research, 64% of American wine consumers favored the traditionally designed label, 23% the modern style label, and only 13% the fun and whimsical label. So though Americans may be more adventurous in accepting alternative wine containers, a larger majority still prefer traditional style labels.

slide5Conclusion – Americans Continue to Evolve as Wine Consumers

Based on this year’s survey, American wine consumers do appear to be evolving in their preferences when compared to research conducted a decade ago, when more Americans preferred white wine to red, and screw caps had a low acceptance rate. Today wine in America is not only consumed with meals, but used to relax with friends and family, or to enjoy as a delicious drink on its own. This may explain why semi-sweet wines are identified as a preference, because they can be enjoyed with or without food.

Price and brand continue to be important to Americans when selecting a wine, but they are also willing to pay more for wine, including luxury wine for special occasions. Social media has become a popular way to discuss wine online with friends and to gather information to assist in wine purchases. Finally Americans seem to be much more accepting of alternative wine containers, though a majority still prefers traditional label design.

Caveat: Since this survey is based on a representative sample of American wine consumers, and not a random sample, it cannot be generalized to all wine consumers.

References

Photo Credit: Fotolia 118526264

 

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State of the US Wine Industry in 2016 – Trends and Statistics

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In 2016 US consumers continue to reach for wine as an enjoyable beverage, even with craft beer grabbing an increased share of the alcohol beverage market.

A review of the 2015 wine statistics and buying trends for 2016 are generally positive. Most experts predict another good year for wine, at its usual 1 to 2% growth rate in the US. Despite fluctuating stock markets, a very competitive alcoholic beverage industry, whispers of recession, and fast-moving social media/apps that can influence trends overnight, in general wine seems to be well positioned for 2016. However it could be a pivotal year for American wine, if the industry doesn’t begin to innovate as fast as the competition.slide1

Statistics for the US Wine Industry in 2015

  • Revenues for US Wine Sales = $38 billion, a 1.3% increase from 2014 (Gord0n, 2016)
  • Number of Outlets in the US selling wine = 545,907 (Brager, 2016)
  • Total cases shipped: estimated 323 million, a .07% increase from 2014 (Impact Databank, 2016)
  • Percentage from California = 60%
  • Percentage from Other States = 9%
  • Percentage from Imports: 31%, (21 million cases in bulk)
  • The US continues to be the largest wine consuming nation since 2010 (Wine Institute, 2015)
  • 2015 is the 23nd consecutive year of grown for US wine sales 

Presentation1

US Wineries & Consumers

  • Number of US Wineries in 2015 = 8702 (Fransen, 2016)
  • 5 Largest Wine States by # of Wineries: California 4054, Washington = 718, Oregon, 689, NY = 367, Virginia = 262
  • Percentage of US Adults who drink wine: 40% (Halstead, 2016)
  • US Wine Consumption per Capita: 3.14 gallons (11.9 liters) in 2014 (Wine Market Council, 2015)
  • Gender Percentage = 57% female and 43% male (Nielsen Spectra, 2016)
  • High Frequency Wine Drinkers = 35% of US wine drinking population, or those who drink wine several times per week; an increase of 2% since 2010 (Gillespie, 2016).
  • Percentage Sales by Wine Color = Red: 46.3%; White: 44.3%; Pink: 4% (Brager, 2016).
  • Largest Wine Consuming Generations = Millennials at 36% and Baby Boomers at 34% (Gillespie, 2016) 

Wine Sales Channel Performance in 2015 

Off-Premise– sales of wine in grocery stores, wine shops, and other off-premise establishments continued to perform well, with double digit value and volume growth in 4 price points: $11 – $14.99, $15 – $19.99, $20-$24.99 and over $25 (Brager, 2016). Despite this, 75% of the wine in the US is still sold at $9 and under. (Fredrikson, 2016)

On Premise – sales of wine in restaurants, bar, and other on-premise establishments continued to remained relatively flat in 2015. Dollar sales were up .1%, but volume was down by -4.1%. Varietals selling well on-premise were Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon (Guest Metrics, 2016).

Direct to Consumer Shipping (DTC/Ecommerce) – online wine sales and shipping direct to consumer was a bright spot in 2015. According to ShipCompliant (2016), revenues hit $2 billion, an increase of 8.1% from 2014 with 4.2 million cases shipped. Thought still only 1 to 1.5% of total wine sales volume in the US, DTC is doing well and expected to increase over the next few years. Average bottle price was again $38, and wineries can now ship directly to 43 states (Fredrikson, 2016).

 US Wine Exports – though not a large wine exporter because the US tends to consume most of its own wine, in 2015 the US exported 51.2 million cases worth $1.61 billion in revenues (Wine Institute, 2016). This was up 7.6% in revenues and 4.1% in volume from 2014.

Hot Wine Trends Now and for 2016

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Premiumization Continues– the desire to try a more premium product and pay more for it, or “premiumization” is expected to continue in 2016 for wine and other alcoholic beverages. This is reflected in consumers paying more for wine and the double digit increases in the $11 – 25 price range. This should continue unless something happens in the economy to spook consumers.

Hot Wine Styles: Sparkling & Sangria – though still table wine continues to grow in value and volume, sparkling wine, especially Prosecco, is extremely popular in America and grew at 11.7% in value, while Sangria grew at 9.8%, according to Nielson (Brager, 2016).

5 Most Popular Wine Varietals – surprisingly the slightly tart and refreshing style of Sauvignon Blanc won the prize for most increased value(13.3%) and volume change (10.7%). This was followed by the continuing hot trend of Red Blends, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and then Pinot Grigio (Fredrikson, 2016). However, the highest volume varietal sold in the US continues to be Chardonnay.

Most Popular Imports – Americans continue to be in love with wines from Italy and New Zealand. However both France and Portugal made great showings in 2015 with 10.8% and 8% increases in value for wines from both countries (Brager, 2016).

Fastest Growing Wine Containers – though the 750 ml glass bottle still dominates the US market at over 50% of the volume of wine sold, the 3 Liter Box and Tetra pack continued to grow in popularity (Fredrikson, 2016)

References

  • Brager, D. (2016). US Wine Consumer Trends – Battle for the Next Pour. 11th Annual Wine Market Council Research Conference on U.S. Wine Consumer Trends. Jan. 25, 2016. New York, NY.
  • Franson, P. (2016). Number of United State Wineries Reaches 8,702. Wine Business Monthly, pgs. 76-81, Feb. 2016 Issue.
  • Fredrikson, J. (2016). State of the Industry. Presentation at Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Jan. 27, 2016. Sacramento, CA.
  • Gillespie, J. (2016). Overview of US Wine Industry. 11th Annual Wine Market Council Research Conference on U.S. Wine Consumer Trends. Jan. 25, 2016. New York, NY.
  • Gordon, J. (2016). U.S. Wine Sales Total $38 billion. Wines & Vines, Jan. 15, 2016. Available at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=163380
  • Guest Metrics. (2016). ON-PREMISE TRENDS END THE YEAR ON A LOW NOTE, CRAFT SPIRITS BIG WINNER IN 2015. Guestmetrics.com Blog. Jan. 22, 2016. Available at: http://www.guestmetrics.com/blog/2016/1/22/january-2016-industry-report
  • Halstead, L. (2016). Industry of Tomorrow. Presentation at Unified Wine & Grape Symposium. Jan. 28, 2016. Sacramento, CA.
  • McMillan, R. (2016). 2016 SVB Wine Report. Silicon Valley Bank. Available at: http://www.svb.com/wine-report/
  • Nieslon Spectra (2015). The US Wine Consumer Report.
  • Quackenbush, J. (2016).  Wine sales growth slows to 2% as consumers upscale.  North Bay Business Journal. Available at: http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/northbay/sonomacounty/5139096-181/wine-sales-growth-slows-2015?gallery=5146124#page=2
  • Shanken Daily News. (2016). Wine Market Council Finds Generational and Involvement “Gaps” Increasingly Pivotal To Industry. Shanken Daily News. Jan. 27, 2016
  • ShipCompliant (2016). 2016 Direct to Consumer Report.
  • Wine Institute (2016). California Wine Exports Set Record in 2015: Worldwide Demand Grows, Despite Strong Dollar. Wine Institute Website. Feb. 25, 2016. Available at: http://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/pressroom/02252016
  • Wine Market Council (2015).  Research. Available at: http://winemarketcouncil.com/research/

Photo Credits: L. Thach

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Highlights of American Wine Consumer Survey

Shopping for Wine

The US is the world’s largest wine market, achieving $37.6 billion in wine sales in 2014. But what wine styles does the American consumer prefer; where do they like to buy wine, and why do they drink it? These are just a few of the questions explored in the annual American Wine Consumer Preference Survey launched by Sonoma State University (SSU) and the Wine Business Institute.

Highlights of the 2015 survey results are shared here in a Powerpoint presentation developed by the researchers.  It is intended to be shared with others to provide basic information and statistics for the wine industry.

The American Wine Consumer Survey Results from SSU Wine Business Research

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Trends in the US Wine Industry for 2015 – Surging Forward with Renewed Optimism ($37.6 billion in 2014 revenues)

DSCF0893Even though wine consumption in the US has increased every year since 2000, some of those years were a bit bumpy due to the recession and a tendency for consumers to purchase value-priced wines. Now in 2015, the trend of buying more premium-priced wines has resurfaced, and there is a renewed optimism in the US, spurred on by the strengthening dollar and a more buoyant economy.

A review of the 2014 wine statistics and buying trends for 2015 are primarily positive. The only gray cloud on the US wine horizon may the growing popularity of craft beer and spirits. However if the wine industry continues to innovate and assists in promoting a larger market share for all adult beverages, then the positive growth trend can continue.

Sources for this posting are primarily from speakers at the 2015 Unified Wine Symposium as well as recent reports. See references at end for details.

Statistics for the US Wine Industry in 2014

  • Revenues for US Wine Sales = $37.6 billion (Wine Institute, 5/19/15); 1% increase from 2013
  • Total  cases shipped: 375 million (Frederickson,2015)
  • Percentage Imports = 31% (down from 34% in 2013; mainly from bulk)
  • Percentage from California = 60% ($24.6 billion in revenues, up 6.7% from 2013)
  • Percentage from Other States = 9%
  • US is the largest wine consuming nation since 2010 (Wine Institute, 2015)
  • 2014 is the 22nd consecutive year of grown for US wine sales

US Wineries & Consumption Rates

  • Number of US Wineries in 2014: 8287 (Gordon, 2015)
  • 5 Largest Wine Producing States: 1- California, 2- Washington, 3- Oregon, 4- New York, and 5- Virginia
  • Wine Consumption in the USUS Wine Consumption per Capita: 3.14 gallons (11.9 liters) in 2014 (Wine Market Council, 2015)
  • Percentage of US Adults who drink wine: 40%
  • Consumption Frequency: 33% drink wine several times per week and 67% drink wine occasionally

Channel Growth & Competition in 2014 

  • Off-Premise – more than 80% of wine in the US is still sold off-premise, with double digit growth in the $12-15; $15-20; $20 – 30; and over $30 categories (Brager, 2015). Still 75% of wine sold was under $9 per bottle (Frederickson, 2015)
  • Direct to Consumer Shipping (DTC/Ecommerce) – 3.95 million cases shipped at $1.82 billion in sales, a 15.5% increase from 2013 (ShipCompliant, 2015). Average bottle price $38. Wineries can now ship to 90% of US states.
  • On Premise Sales – slight increase in 2014 over previous years with wine value up 1.3%, but volume down 1.1% (Guest Metrics, Nov. 2014)
  • Competition – number of craft breweries and craft spirits have increased more than 50% since 2008 (Frederickson, 2015), creating intense competition for wine

Hot Wine Trends Now and for 2015

  • Trading Up – wine sales have increased in the $12 – 30 range and are expected to continue with the strong dollar, lower oil prices, and desire for more premium products
  • Sparkling wine is “hot” – up 7% in 2014, and will continue to grow, especially Prosecco. There is opportunity for new brands in the sparkling market.
  • Red Blends are still very popular, with brands like Apothic and Menage a Trois Red performing well. Opportunity for higher-priced red blends.
  • Most popular varietals will continue to grow: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand
  • 428047_4187596921499_1003172458_n (1)Oregon & Washington coming on strong, with more interest in wine from these states
  • Rose over $12 performed well this past year, and is expected to continue into 2015
  • “Eco” Wines slowly gaining more attention with 16% of US wine consumers now looking for these labels. Potential increases for sustainable, organic, and biodynamic wine as consumers grow more concerned about environmental issues.
  • Tetra Pak and 3 L Boxes selling well with continued growth in this area.
  • Wine Kegs in restaurants selling both value-priced and premium wine by the glass are gaining positive attention from consumers, with expected growth here.
  • Wine Apps are growing in popularity with up to 36% of US consumers using them to check prices and reviews before purchase
  • Wine Cocktails are stirring positive reactions with Millennials (Franson, 2015). This could be an opportunity to create a new trend of “wine mixology.”

References 

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Profile of the US Wine Consumer in 2014

(Originally published in Wine Business Monthly as “Snapshot of the American Wine Consumer” in 2014 by Liz Thach, Janeen Olsen & Tom Atkin)

Wine with FlagWho is the American wine consumer today? What types of wine do they prefer and where do they purchase their wine? How much do they spend on a bottle of wine in a restaurant? These and other questions are addressed in a new annual survey that researchers at Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute have recently designed.

About the Sample

The online survey was launched in early 2014 with a total of 1028 wine consumers responding to the questions. The data was gathered by a third party market research firm supplying panel data of household wine consumers in America. All fifty states were represented, with more consumers responding from states with higher wine consumption rates. For example, 12 % of the sample were from California, 9% from Florida, 7% from New York and Illinois, and 6% from Texas.

Demographics showed 49% male and 51% female respondents; 59% had a college degree; and 61% made over $50,000 per year. In terms of age, 36% were Millennials (21 – 36), 22% Gen Xers (37 – 48), 34% were Baby Boomers (49 – 67) and 8% were Traditionalists (68 +). The ethnic breakdown of the sample was 72% Caucasian, 12% African-American, 8% Hispanic, 5% Asian with the remaining 3% Mixed or other. These demographics are very similar to other research portraying the American wine consumer.

Wine Consumption Frequency and Preferred Varietals

When asked how often they consume wine, 20% of the sample reported drinking wine on a daily basis, 48% several times a week, 18% once a week and the remainder were occasional drinkers at 14%. Respondents were given a list of the 12 most popular varietals in the US, according to Nielsen scan data and asked to select their favorites. Results were slightly different than current scan data with 55% selecting Merlot as a top favorite, followed by Chardonnay at 52%, Cabernet Sauvignon at 45% and Pinot Grigio at 44%.

Average Price Spent on Wine

When buying a bottle of wine to drink at home, the most common price point was $10 – $15 per bottle with 35% of the sample, whereas 22% spend $8 – 10, 16% spend $15 – 20, and the remainder spent either less or more. When dining at a restaurant, the most common price was $20 – 30 per bottle at 27% of the sample, 17% spending $30 – $40, 12% spending over $40, and the remainder spending less or more. Interestingly, 21% of the sample reported only buying wine by the glass at restaurants. The most common price point for this was $5 – 10 per glass at 61% of the sample.

Preferred Location to Purchase Wine

Since this was a national sample, and wine is not sold in grocery stores in every state, it was not surprising to see that the most common location to purchase wine was in a Wine or Liquor Store. Participants were asked to rate how often they purchase wine at these locations with possible responses of Never (0), Rarely (1), Sometimes (2), Often (3), and Almost Always (4). In this study, 25% of the respondents said they purchase wine in a Wine/Liquor store almost always, which caused the overall rating to be 3. 6, whereas only 17% said they almost always purchase wine in a Grocery Store, resulting in an overall rating in that category of 3.21. Online wine sales is still quite small with only 4% of the sample reporting they almost always purchase wine Online.

Decision-Making Cues to Buy Wine

In addition to using Price and Varietal as decision-making cues when buying wine, 74% of the sample reported that wine Brand was very important, followed by Country at 52%, then Region at 44%. The way the Label looked was important to 38% of the respondents. Least important was Appellation at 12%.

Organic, Sustainable and Biodynamic Wines

Though the Organic Trade Association reports that 41% of American consumers are now buying organic food, this number is not as high with organic beverages. That could explain why only 16% of this sample said they look for organic wine as part of their decision-making process. Listing “sustainable” on the label only was important to 10% and “biodynamic” to 6%. Other research indicates that many Americans assume that most wine is organic anyway and therefore don’t look for these cues, and some consumers confuse the term “biodynamic” with “genetically modified,” which can be a deterrent to purchase.

Social Media and Wine Apps

Social media is being adopted in large numbers by American wine consumers with 80% of the sample reporting they use Facebook, 41% Youtube, 39% Twitter, 28% Linked-In, 25% Google+, 24% Pinterest, and 20% Instagram. Only 9% of the sample said they don’t use social media. Of those that do, 13% reported they frequently use social media to get information about wine, look up wine pricing, and ask friends for wine recommendations. An amazing 76% of the sample own a smart phone with around 24% using wine apps.

Table 1: Use of Smart Phone & Wine Apps

Have a smart phone 76%
Use smart phone to check prices on wine 36%
Have wine apps on smart phone 24%
Use apps to get coupons on wine 24%
Use wine apps to decide which wine to buy 23%

Wine Tourism

Wine Tourism Word Cloud

Wine Tourism Word Cloud

Reports about wine tourism growing appear to be true, according to this sample. When asked if they had visited wineries in other regions to taste wine, 67% of the sample responded positively. They were then asked to type in the names of some of the regions they had visited for wine tourism, which resulted in the “word cloud” picture below. This diagram illustrates the 27 most important words listed, with the larger and darker the font reflecting a higher number of responses. The statistical analysis confirms that in the US, Napa was typed into the data box slightly more times than California, followed by Sonoma (misspelled a few times), New York and Oregon. Outside the US, France was documented slightly more than Italy.

Ongoing Research on Wine Consumers – Additional Questions?

This article reports on the highlights of the American Wine Consumer Survey for 2014. Additional research questions were included on other wine business topics and will be analyzed and published in the future. Researchers at the Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute have received grant money to conduct this American Wine Consumer study on an annual basis. If you have suggestions on additional questions or topics to include, please do not hesitate to contact the authors.

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Trends in the US Wine Industry for 2014 – Sunny Cellars with Some Cobwebs

Dr. Liz Thach, MW

Dr. Liz Thach, MW

The numbers for 2013 are in, and most experts are more optimistic about the 2014 wine market in the US. Though there are still some areas recovering less quickly from the recession (parts of the Midwest and some on-premise wine sales), in general “cellars are sunny but with a few lingering cobwebs.”

Following is a brief review of trends in the US wine market for 2014 and highlights of 2013. Sources include the Wine Marketing Council, Nielson, Silicon Valley Bank, ImpactRabobank, Euromonitor, ShipCompliant, GuestMetrics, OIV, Wine Institute, Constellation Brands, Wine.com and Frederickson at the Unified Wine Symposium.

Wine Sales in the US in 2013

  • According to Impact Databank, US wine volume was 329 million cases in 2013, a 1% increase from 2012. This includes both domestic and imported wine, and makes the US the world’s largest wine market with France in second place at 313 million cases.
  • The estimated retail value of 2013 wine shipments is $36.3 billion, a 5% increase from 2012. This makes the US the largest wine market in terms of revenues.
  • Approximately 34% of sales were from imports, with California comprising 57%, and other states making up the remaining 9%.
  • Wine sales have been growing at a rate of 2 to 3% per year in the US market for the past 21 years.

US Wine Consumption Rates

  • The US is either the 1st or 2nd largest wine-consuming nation depending on the statistic source: OIV 2012 states the US consumes 29,000 hectoliters behind France (30, 269 hectoliters); whereas the Wine Institute (2011) states the US consumed 3,282,500 liters verses France at 2,891,700 liters.
  • Approximately 44% of all US adults drink wine, but only 35% per capita.
  • For per capita wine consumption, the US ranks #62 at approximately 11 liters per person or 3.08 gallons. The Vatican ranks #1.
  • Of the 330 million people in the US, 101 million now drink wine.

US Wine Consumer Demographic Trends

  • Of adult wine drinkers, 15% are High Frequency drinkers (consuming wine at least once a week or more) and 29% are Occasional drinkers.
  • In terms of gender, 55% of American wine consumers are women and 45% are men, with more men adopting wine over the last decade .
  • Babyboomers are still spending the most on wine, with Millennials (ages 21 to 36) in second place.
  • Major reasons Americans drink wine: 1) they enjoy the taste, 2) like to pair with food, 3) to socialize with friends, and 4) to relax.

Trends in Wine for 2014

  • The most popular varietals in off-premise continue to be: 1) Chardonnay, 2) Cabernet Sauvignon, 3) Pinot Grigio, 4) Merlot and 5) Blends.
  • The fastest growing varietals, with double digit growth, are still moscato, malbec and blends.  Blends include red and white blends in both dry and sweet categories. Expect more growth and experimentation in this segment.
  • The sweet spot for wine pricing is $9 – $11.99, but Americans are trading up and spending more on wine.
  • Sparkling wine, especially Prosecco, continues to be popular, with forecasted growth.
  • Dry roses, often from Provence, are desirable in summer months. Expect new entries from other countries and US wineries.
  • Syrah and white zinfandel continue to decline in popularity.
  • Favorite imported wines by value include: 1) Italy, 2) Australia, 3) Argentina, 4) Chile, and 5) France, but largest value growth in Argentina and New Zealand.
  • Keg wine continues to gain in popularity in on-premise settings, including ultra-premium wine in this new style of container.
  • Craft beer is growing faster than wine, and experts suggest that the wine industry needs to be more innovative to compete.
  • Creative opportunities for wine include seasonal wines, new types of containers, e.g. mini 6-packs of wine, new varietals, blends, innovative labeling, wine cocktails, and additions, such as flavors, vitamins, energy, etc.
  • People are interacting with wine much more on social media, with 80% of wine drinkers using Facebook; wine is the third most popular subject on Pinterest; and wine drinkers talk about wine online 63 times every minute.  See Constellation’s great video with more statistics on this at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfxPR7XtBUE

Trends in Wine Channel Distribution

  • Approximately 80% of wine sold in the US is off-premise with 16% on-premise. Direct to Consumer (DTC) and Direct to Trade make up the remainder.
  • There are 7762 wineries in the US (Wine Business Monthly, 2014)
  • The number of retail outlets to sell wine has grown to 522, 420 (Nielson, 2014).
  • Off-premise remains healthy with significant growth in the $9 – $11.99 range showing Americans trading up, with $9.19 average bottle prices (Nielson, 2014).
  • On-Premise volume and value still not back to 2007 levels, but slowly making progress with the average bottle price at $46 and by the glass at $10.67 (Guestmetrics, 2012).
  • Online wine sales (ecommerce) have grown 17% in the past year, but still only maintain about 1.5% of total wine sales (Wine.com, 2014).
  • Within online wine sales, retailer to consumer is 5.9% of off-premise wine sales (Nielson, 2014)
  • Winery to Consumer (DTC) online sales up 9.3% to 3.47 million cases in 2013 with value at $1.57 billion (ShipCompliant, 2013).
  • The three largest wine corporations in the world, E&J Gallo, Constellation and The Wine Group, are headquartered in the US and own approximately 51% of the market.

 

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