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Wine, sales growth in Italy in 2021: +10% in large-scale distribution and +350% in e-commerce

Data on the first half of 2021 by Nomisma Wine Monitor and NielsenIQ. The sustained growth of Cash&Carry (+18%), linked to out of home sales
Wine, sales growth in Italy in 2021

Despite the reopening of the restaurant industry that arrived at the beginning of June, wine sales in Italy in the first half of 2021 confirm the trends seen in 2020, with sales growth still robust in large-scale distribution, and a still exponential increase in e-commerce. This is stated by the Nomisma Wine Monitor Report on sales in the off-trade channel in Italy, produced in collaboration with NielsenIQ. The most resounding figure is that of wine sales in generalist sites (distribution chains + Amazon), which record, for the first half of 2021, a growth of 351% in value and 310% in volume over the same period of the previous year, which, it should be remembered, included two months of total lockdown (and, therefore, of exponential growth in online wine purchases by Italians).
This is still a limited incidence on the value of total wine sales in the off-trade channel, which is just 2%, which, added to the weight of the so called pure players, does not exceed 15%, but it is rather representative of a consolidated trend. Widening the scope of analysis to the entire off-trade channel, which, instead, represents a major part of total wine sales by volume, the first half of 2021 confirms the growth trend of value sales of wine in large-scale distribution (+10% in Hypermarkets and Super, +2% in Discount stores), and a recovery in Cash & Carry (+18%) as a sign of the progressive reopening of bars and restaurants (Cash & Carry represents, in fact, a distribution format reserved to professionals of the Horeca channel). A recovery further confirmed by the figure for the second quarter of 2021 (when restrictions were loosened the most): +45% compared with the first quarter of this year. In this context of growth and resumption of out-of-home wine consumption, it is, however, e-commerce that plays the leading role. “The continuous growth of online sales even after the most critical moments of the pandemic confirm the structural development of this channel for the wine market, one of the many legacies that Covid is leaving us at a global level”, says Denis Pantini, Head of Agribusiness and Wine Monitor at Nomisma.
Comparing online spending with the cart of wines purchased at the shelves, it is evident a higher average value in favor of e-commerce. While in Italian large-scale retail outlets, PDO wines account for about 40% of the quantities of wine purchased (again, as of the first half of 2021), in online orders this percentage reaches 54%.
“The average price of wines purchased online presents a differential of about 38% in the case of still and fizzy wines and 19% in the case of sparkling wines compared to shelf purchases, a deviation that stems from the different composition - typological, but also for brand and packaging - of the two shopping carts”, Pantini points out.
In detail, while sparkling wines account for 12% of the volume of wine purchased on the shelves in the Italian GDO, in the e-commerce channel this weight reaches 16%. Moreover, always on the subject of sparkling wines, the weight of Champagne and Metodo Classico reaches 12% in the online cart against 8% of shelf sales. Even for organic wines, the incidence is double in the case of online shopping (although still marginal on the total, that is 2%).
Numbers which, on one hand, tell about growth and a general resumption of wine consumptions which give hope, and on the other hand confirm the trends accelerated by the pandemic, which, in the articulated wine market, see the growing weight of large-scale distribution and e-commerce, with which companies and distributors will have to deal more and more in the future.

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