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Wine in modern distribution: sales down -2.2% in 2021, lots of variables in 2022

Iri-Vinitaly: the boom in sparkling wines continues (+18.1% in volume), but the rise in raw material and energy prices is frightening
BUBBLES, CARREFOUR, CONAD, COOP, DISTRIBUTION, IRI, LARGE - SCALE DISTRIBUTION, VINITALY, WINE, News
Wine in large-scale distribution: fewer bottles purchased in 2021

Wine in modern distribution closes 2021 with a slight drop in sales, down -2.2%, to 699 million liters, compared to 2020, but the trend is positive both in terms of values (+2.2%) and compared to 2019, the pre-pandemic year and therefore the true term of comparison. Bubbles, on the other hand, recorded extraordinary growth of 18.1% in volume and +20.5% in value, driven by Prosecco, for an overall value of 3 billion euros: this emerged from the webinar “Wine and Bubbles in Modern Distribution: 2001 Final Balance and Prospects for 2022”, organized by VeronaFiere and Iri, with three of the main Italian large-scale distribution brands (Coop, Conad and Carrefour), a stage in the run-up to Vinitaly 2022, which returns to Verona in April 10-13.
2022, on the other hand, will have to reckon with several variables that could influence - both positively and negatively - the performance of wine in modern distribution: the increase in the prices of raw materials, energy and transport, the lower purchasing power of consumers, the possible strong slowdown of the pandemic. In the meantime, uncertainty about the future has already had a negative impact on the month of January 2022: wine by volume fell by 7% and sparkling wines by 1%, but we will have to wait for data for the first quarter of 2022, which IRI will present at Vinitaly during the traditional round table on Wine and Direct Distribution, to get a clearer picture. It will probably be necessary to wait until the second half of the year to understand whether there will be any increase in the price of bottles on the shelf, also because in January prices even recorded a small and unexpected fall.

“For wine, we have seen, in 2021, a correction of the great 2020 growth, due to the pandemic emergency”, explains Virgilio Romano, business insight director IRI. “For sparkling wines, the 2021 closure represents a historic result, which becomes incredible considering the +42% on 2018, but in 2022 Modern Distribution will have to face the challenge of prices and the probable return to total normality of the other sales channels”.
Francesco Scarcelli, Coop Italy’s beverage manager, on the other hand, predicts a difficult 2022 “because of the demands for increases that are coming in raw materials, energy and transport. We are not yet seeing this inflation on the shelves because the new price lists have not yet come into force but, when they do, we will certainly see a contraction in volumes. In 2021 Coop is aligned with the market data presented by IRI, but it should be stressed that the Retailer Brand is growing more than the market, which is why we will be developing new lines and references in the coming months”. “In Conad, the wine and sparkling wine category grew by 16% in value in 2021, given by +10% of wines and +34% of sparkling wines”, answers Simone Pambianco, national category manager alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at Conad. “For the success of sparkling wines, it should be emphasized that producers have brought innovation to the sector and that the phenomenon of premiumization of demand is continuing, meaning that wines and sparkling wines with a higher value content as well as high intrinsic quality are the most popular”. Satisfactory wine sales at Carrefour, as Gianmaria Polti, Carrefour Italia beverage manager, confirms: “after a year of general satisfaction for wines at Carrefour Italia, we are facing a major challenge for 2022: to confirm and improve the satisfaction expressed by our customers in a complex context, not without difficulties, linked to inflationary tensions and hints of a slowdown in domestic consumption”. “In Conad, the wine and sparkling wine category grew by 16% in value in 2021, given by +10% of wines and +34% of sparkling wines”, answers Simone Pambianco, national category manager alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at Conad. “For the success of sparkling wines, it should be emphasized that producers have brought innovation to the sector and that the phenomenon of premiumization of demand is continuing, meaning that wines and sparkling wines with a higher value content as well as high intrinsic quality are the most popular”. Satisfactory wine sales at Carrefour, as Gianmaria Polti, Carrefour Italia beverage manager, confirms: “after a year of general satisfaction for wines at Carrefour Italia, we are facing a major challenge for 2022: to confirm and improve the satisfaction expressed by our customers in a complex context, not without difficulties, linked to inflationary tensions and hints of a slowdown in domestic consumption”.

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