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How the pandemic changed the relationship between wine and consumer in Britain

“Uk Wine Landscape 2021” by Wine Intelligence: the number of wine lovers decreases, especially among young people and low-income consumers
Wine consumption in the UK in the year of the pandemic

The long-term trend shows a drop in volumes consumed, but the pandemic has brought renewed interest in wine; at the same time, the number of wine lovers is decreasing, although wine lovers seem to be increasingly interested and involved; competition among other alcoholic beverages is growing, from craft beer to gin; less and less participation in consumption by the under 35s, but the young people who choose wine do so with passion; Covid, moreover, has given a boost to the e-commerce channel; data on the state of health of wine brands reveal that the lockdown and restrictions have benefited above all the strongest brands on the market; finally, the drop in out-of-home consumption, less dramatic than expected, also thanks to government incentives that have rewarded those who have decided to return to the restaurant. Here are the trends that leave 2020 to the market of Great Britain, told by the “Uk Wine Landscape 2021” by Wine Intelligence.
As mentioned, despite an expected drop in consumption, Covid did not curb the appeal of wine, which translated into an increase in the frequency of consumption, which grew between March and August and arrived in October close to pre-crisis levels. Spending levels also rose in the second half of the year, once the initial shock had passed, returning to the trend of spending growth over the medium to long term.
Regardless of the pandemic, British consumers are spending more, on average, on every drinking occasion than they did in 2015. There is, however, a decline in the number of wine drinkers in Britain, caused by the disaffection of younger and lower-income consumers: just 11% of British wine lovers earn less than £20,000 a year, in 2015 it was 23%. Also, in 2015, the over-65s accounted for 22% of regular wine drinkers; today they are 27%. Growing over the period is the percentage of high-income (above £50,000) wine drinkers, up from 25 percent to 29 percent. In total, there are 34.6 million British wine drinkers in 2020, down from 39.1 million in 2015 (-2.4%). And regular drinkers are also dropping (-2.6%), as are those who drink wine on a weekly basis (-2.9%).
While there are fewer drinkers in Britain, there is, on the other side of the scale, an increasing involvement, which has grown steadily since 2015. Wine lovers under 55 are the ones who are most passionate, and who show a more adventurous and curious approach to wine. Younger people, on the other hand, are the ones who have the most desire to discover and learn. Half of under 35s, in fact, declare they enjoy regularly trying new wines and new styles, against 31% of the ones who are more than 35 years old. As already mentioned, even among those who regularly drink wine, beer, in particular craft beer, and gin are experiencing an important growth. The percentage of wine lovers who drank Gin in 2020 was 54%, compared to 31% in 2015, so much so that today Gin is among the top 5 most drunk spirits in the country. And the same goes for beer: 60% of wine drinkers also drink beer, while a third of wine drinkers appreciate that craft beer.
An interesting dynamic analyzed by Wine Intelligence concerns the strength of the most established brands during the pandemic. Popularized and well-known brands such as Yellow Tail, Campo Viejo, Barefoot, McGuigan, Penfolds and Villa Maria, have accelerated their growth, putting in higher earnings in 2019. After all, the short amount of time spent between shelves meant consumers were relying on brands they already knew. But what are the consumption trends with which Britain greets this 2020? 81% of consumers drank white wine in the last 12 months, 79% red wine, 62% beer, 58% Prosecco and 54% Gin: all percentages up sharply on 2015. 50% of wine lovers drank French wine in the past six months, 45% Australian wines, 44% Italian wines, 40% Spanish wines and 36% South African wines. And again, 58% of red wine consumers in the last six months drank a Merlot, 45% a Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% a Malbec, 40% a Syrah and 36% a Pinot Noir. Among white berried varieties, 60% opted for a Sauvignon Blanc, 51% for a Pinot Gris, the same percentage for Chardonnay, 24% for Chenin Blanc and 23% for Pinot Blanc. Variety, after all, is the first parameter of choice, considered important or very important by 76% of consumers, ahead of country of origin (66%), style (61%), territory of origin (60%) and brand they are used to (59%).

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