Allegrini 2018

Italian wine in the spotlight online in the USA: the partnership between Ita agency and Wine.com

An agreement in the States with the most important e-commerce player (a channel that accounts for 40% of turnover) to help Italian wineries grow
Italian wine in the spotlight online in the USA: partnership between Ita and Wine.com

The USA is a vital market for Italian wine. A country in which Italy is competing with France for market share among foreign wines, and where, as in every country in the world, but starting from already high values, wine e-commerce has exploded into a pandemic. And it will continue to grow, especially thanks to the younger generations. The United States is a country where 40% of all wine sales are already made on digital platforms. The most important of these is Wine.com, the largest wine e-commerce portal in the US, which as a “pure player” aimed solely at end consumers can develop a turnover of 300 million dollars a year, working in 50 states. It will become a privileged platform for Italian producers, thanks to the partnership signed between Ita - Italian Trade Agency and Wine.com, presented today, which will give greater digital visibility to the Italian wineries already in the portfolio (over 500 for 1,200 references), and in 2022 will allow another 50 Italian brands (of which 35 wine and 15 spirits) to access the platform.
“We are convinced that wine today faces three main challenges”, said Antonio Laspina, Ice New York director and coordinator of the US Ice network, “digitalization, marketing and distribution. This project was created to respond to these three challenges. We will give Italian wineries the opportunity to take advantage of Wine.com’s success in the market, but also to improve their knowledge of e-commerce, which is already an important channel for wine in the USA. In 2020, the US imported $2 billion worth of wine, and in 2021 all categories are growing. At the end of September 2021, we record a growth of 20% to 1.7 billion dollars, overall, of which whites are worth 560 million (+12%), reds 515 million (+12.7%), bubbles 438.7 million (+39.5%) and rosés 35.5 million (+56.4%), with these two categories having extraordinary growth rates that will become increasingly important trends”.
To improve further, continues Laspina, “in addition to collaboration with Wine.com, which is one of the most important things, especially to reach young consumers with a high spending capacity, Ita - Italian Trade Agency will also support wineries in participating in events and tastings with Slow Wine, Gambero Rosso and Iem - International Exhibition Management, we will help the presence on the web and social networks, and we will put in place a program of events in 12 cities to reach 800 buyers and educators, especially in states such as Arizona and elsewhere, which we have not yet explored in-depth”.
“The agreement”, explained Giosafat Riganò, Ita - Italian Trade Agency’s e-commerce and Made in Italy promotion team, “will last until 2022, during which time we will support companies in digital promotion with the creation of ad hoc content and specific pages on Wine.com, promotions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, banners on websites and newsletters, direct communication via email, but also codes for 10% discounts on Italian wines and spirits, and 4 virtual online tastings for American consumers. As well as seminars held in conjunction with Wine.com. Wineries that will be able to join the program will be selected from Ice’s list of potential exporters, and experience with digital platforms and e-commerce will be positively evaluated. And there will be introductory seminars, in addition to this one, on 17 November on rosé wines, on 23 November on the US market, and then in March 2022 further in-depth seminars that will then be selected”.
This is an important project, especially for the growth prospects of e-commerce in the US and the Wine.com platform, as explained by founder and vice chairman Mike Osborne. “From our data, we see that our portal is mainly used to buy premium wines, with an average price of $28 per bottle for still wines compared to the average retail price of $11.6 according to Nielsen data, and $37 compared to $13 for sparkling wines. Our business is growing on foreign wines, we will account for 55% of turnover in 2021, compared to 45% for American wines, in contrast with the rest of the market. And it is mainly young people who are shaping these trends, since Millenials and Gen Z account for 35% of our consumers, 30% are Gen X, and “only” 30% are Boomers. Furthermore, the data tells us that, on our platform, Millennials and Gen Z buy bottles at an average price of $31, Gen X at $30, and Boomers at $28. This shows that young people are also looking for higher quality wines online, and this is one of the reasons why we see great opportunities for the future”. A future in which Italian wine will be a protagonist.

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