Allegrini 2018

The resilience of Italian wine on the US market: +2.3% in the first 8 months of 2020

Osservatorio Vinitaly-Nomisma: France collapses, the country to 1.16 billion euros. Gino Colangelo: e-commerce sales fly by
US market resists the crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all kinds of consumption, including wine. But, in the U.S. market, it has not affected the level of demand. Thus, consumption outside the buying places is flying, and even more so online sales, which largely compensate for the losses recorded in bars and restaurants. Italy, in this context, is taking advantage of the additional duties applied to its main competitors to significantly lengthen on an increasingly difficult France, as shown by the latest customs data, processed by the Osservatorio Vinitaly-Nomisma Wine Monitor for the Wine2Wine Forum (November 22/24, with a prologue of Opera Wine by Wine Spectator on November 21, 2020, Ex Gallerie Mercatali, Verona) and with an online focus on the effects of Covid on Italian wine, moderated by Gino Colangelo and in connection with the protagonists of the American market, including Alison Napjus, senior editor for Wine Spectator, Kristina Kelley, communications director Wine & Spirits for E. J. Gallo Winery, founder of Vivino Heini Zachariassen, founder of the Wine.com portal, Michael Osborn and Aaron Sherman, co-founder and CEO of SevenFifty.
Italy, as mentioned above, is finding itself more and more protagonist in the sales of wine in the United States, while France is more and more stunned by additional duties. In the first 8 months of 2020, Italy has, in fact, recovered more than 370 million euros on the historic competitor beyond the Alps, and closes the summer with a further increase to 1.16 billion euros in sales (+2.3% on the same period 2019), against a France never so low and a trend in red of 25.7% (998 million euros). The scenario, exactly reversed over the same period of 2019, is influenced more by additional duties than by Covid-19. Suffice it to say that in addition to the -25.7% in value of France (with still wines at -32.5%), Spain (-11.8%) and Germany (-34.4%) also recorded heavy declines, which contribute decisively to the overall contraction of U.S. wine imports over the period (-10.5%).
“Italy - comments Giovanni Mantovani, general manager Veronafiere - today holds a market share of 35% of US wine imports, a record reached thanks to the economic situation and a more competitive quality-price ratio than ever before. Now it is necessary to maintain the distance and realign the market segments penalized by Covid-19 through an acceleration of the promotion made in Italy. This - continues the VeronaFiere general manager - will be served by Wine2Wine Exhibition & Forum, a physical and digital event in which, thanks to the partnership with Agenzia-Ice, hundreds of buyers will participate in attendance and the same number online, for which masterclasses, networking, business to business and remote seminars are planned”.
E-commerce is flying, as mentioned, from the big online sales aggregators, as found in the Vinitaly - Wine2Wine seminar, in collaboration with Colangelo & Partners, by Heini Zachariassen, founder of the world's leading wine app, Vivino: “in recent months we have seen the strongest ever purchase increases by our 46 million users, with triple-digit growth in the 5 months of emergency. During the period we have recorded a turning point for fine Italian wines, especially Tuscan reds, Amarone and Brunello di Montalcino”.
The same opinion of the founder of the Wine.com portal, Michael Osborn, underlines that “the share of our users who made purchases has increased from 24% in pre-Covid to 86%. An incredible figure, which, according to our survey, will be maintained even in the post-Covid phase. In the year - adds Osborn - purchases of Italian wines have grown by 53% thanks to purchases in the high end of the millennials and generation X”.
The scenario on the Horeca segment front is different, which, according to Aaron Sherman, co-founder and CEO of SevenFifty, has “dropped by 33%”. Summing up is Gino Colangelo, who summarizes: “the wine business in the United States is very resilient, even in lockdown and in this context Italian wine is favored. Today the fastest growing category is the high-end one (over 50 dollars), which corresponds to the profile of the big companies in the Belpaese”.

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