Wine consumers in the UK are increasingly choosing bottles from countries such as Slovenia, Bulgaria and Hungary. It’s likely that price rises are responsible for the change in buying behavior, as people look for alternatives to the more expensive Italian and French wines. It’s also a by-product of consumers becoming more adventurous with their wine choices.
Sales of eastern European wines have increased more than threefold in the 12 months leading up to April 2018. Portugal also leapt by 61%, while Spanish wines fell by 3% and French sales remained stagnant. The UK is also benefiting from people being willing to try something new with sales increasing by 9% over the same time period.
Wines from eastern Europe are generally good quality and can be perceived as high value due to the relatively lower cost. For example, a pinot grigio from Slovenia is priced at around £1 less than an Italian pinot on average.
As consumers are under increasing pressure from rising prices for everything from fuel and food to daily essentials as well as stagnant wages, more are likely to turn to cheaper bottles. It could also mean a tougher than usual year ahead for wine sellers.
Trading in the UK has been harder since year end when compared to last year, as pressure increases due to the rising cost of imported wines since the pound’s value decreased as a result of Brexit. The average price of a bottle of wine in the UK has risen by only 21p since 2015, compared with a 60p rise in duty and costs.
However, online sales are stronger and growing steadily, as they open up to worldwide sales. Wine retailers are generally working across the board to include as many sensible efficient measures as possible, whether that is dispensing with physical stores and focusing online or introducing new ordering systems or more shelves.
It has also become more important than ever to properly utilise social media channels and marketing to improve sales and drive consumers to successful e-commerce sites. The strength of strong online sellers, such as Ideal Wine Company, is increasing all the time as the UK has seen many well-known high street stores collapsing or decreasing their presence. People are turning towards online sales in every sector and the wine industry is no different.