Allegrini 2018

Wine e-commerce sells 1 bottle out of 10 worldwide, according to Nomisma Wine Monitor data

In Italy, the 2020 turnover should reach 200 million euros. And 27% of consumers buy wine online
Wine e-commerce, a growing phenomenon. Nomisma data

It is still a niche channel, but it has been the star, growing exponentially during the health Pandemic, and everyone is saying it will continue to grow in 2021 as well. Wine e-commerce in Italy, stimulated by the economic and social drama of the Pandemic, is now experiencing its moment of glory. The turnover has not been enormous yet, but there is a noticeable growth trend, as Italy is now rapidly catching up to other, more advanced countries using this channel. These are the findings of a recent study carried out by Nomisma Wine Monitor, according to which the online wine turnover in Italy is worth between 150 and 200 million euros; however, it will continue to grow. “To get a general view of the situation, just consider that on a global level, in 2009 online sales accounted for just 1% of wine sales on the off-trade channel, while instead, in 2019 it reached 7%, almost 2 billion bottles in absolute values”, explained Emanuele Di Faustino, the Nomisma project manager and head of research, and in 2020 it should have reached about 10-12%.
Before the Pandemic exploded, Italy was on the “bottom” rung amongst the main international markets. E-commerce intercepted only 1% of retail sales, compared to 4% in the US, 10% in the UK and a whopping 29% in China, where e-commerce has been a fundamental channel in sales of this product for several years. Then, when the Pandemic burst on the scene, restaurants were forced to close for most of the year, there were more or less widespread lockdowns, and so on. Eight million wine consumers, therefore, had to focus on various e-commerce services, from traditional ones to those that have been gradually established during this period. The Nomisma study revealed that this meant 27% of the total wine consumers, which is an even more significant figure when compared to 17% in 2018.
There has also been an increase in the size of e-commerce, as it has been estimated that the weight on total sales in the retail channel should have grown from 1% in 2019 to 2-3% in 2020. This would have partially recovered the gap accumulated over the past few years in relation to other International markets. The survey also pointed out that the figures are still distant from other markets. In the UK it has gone from 26% to 34% of wine consumers, while in the US, from 32% to 43%.
According to the Nomisma Wine Monitor-Nielsen Observatory, in Italy the e-commerce market for wine reached 75.5 million euros in the first half of 2020, which means the value doubled compared to 2019. The main players credited for this growth were both the so-called “pure players”, such as Tannico, Vino.Com and Callmewine, as well as supermarket sites and Amazon.
“The Italian market is dominated by pure players who intercept over 80% of online wine sales”, emphasized Di Faustino, “while the remaining share is attributed to Amazon, and above all to online mass market retail”, commented Emanuele di Faustino. “Although specialized sites have also registered a significant increase in sales, it is the online mass market retail trade that showed the best performance, achieving 3-digit growth in the first 9 months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019”, continued Di Faustino. The mass-market retail channel, especially, has shown a substantial price difference. On the physical shelf, the average price is 3 euros per liter, while the average value in 59%of online purchases, including mass-market retail brands, is around 4.8 euros per liter.
The Nomisma study explained that in Italy mainly men of the Millennial generation – that is, born between 1980 and the 2000s- that have high purchasing power, buy wine online. The tendency to buy online increases among those who, prior to the onset of Covid-19, used to consume wine especially outside the home, as well as among those who were occupied in smart working in 2020. As we mentioned, this is not, or should not be, a temporary surge. According to the Wine Monitor Nomisma survey, 24% of Italian wine consumers will continue to buy wine online even when the emergency is over. Of course, this is slightly lower than that registered in 2020, but it is still higher than the pre-Covid19 percentage.

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