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Window of opportunity for white, sparkling and low ABV wines

Published:  29 November, 2017

Wine is set to continue this year’s winning streak thanks to a boost from sparkling, white and low/no alcohol wines.

According to future trends report from IRI, an uplift in sales within the wine category in 2017 is set to continue thanks to trends which reflect the UK’s on-going love affair with Prosecco and sparkling, and a growing move towards low and zero alcohol wines as more and more of the population embrace the teetotal trend.

Crisp whites have also seen an uplift, possibly reflecting the trend towards lower ABV wines, while sales of Champagne and also red wine and rosé are expected to continue to decline.

The report also urges drinks businesses to give consumers strong reasons to remain loyal, as consumers shop more frequently across different channels and are perhaps less swayed by brands as large numbers, especially in the beers and ciders category, are seen as “interchangeable”.

Toby Magill, IRI’s head of beer, wine and spirits insights, said marketing departments need to “take a reality check on how special their brands are and understand that they could be replaced. Brands need to be strong on articulating what they bring to the category and the retailer”.

Further range rationalisation is also expected as the supermarkets take a “less is more” approach, swapping brands instead for own-label in a bid to keep up with the like of Aldi and Lidl.

Magill said: “While the major multiples are simplifying their ranges, they still have a long way to go to match the discounters. Up to now, the supermarkets have always had an advantage because they stock major brands, but we are seeing sales of own label alcohol increasing (by 5.4% this year). We will see the discounters become more of a threat as consumers buy alcohol in discount stores along with their regular grocery shop.”

Meanwhile, convenience is predicted to grow.

Beers, wines and spirits are outperforming the market, up 2.5% to £16 bn, however, the convenience sector is well ahead of this, with a growth rate of 3.3%.

At the moment, £1 in every £5 spent on alcohol in the off-trade is via the convenience sector.

“This idea of trading up fits nicely with convenience top-up shopping, and as a result, we will see the influence of the convenience channel continue to grow next year,” said Magill.

“This is where we will see shoppers treat themselves for an affordable price point.”