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Supermarket wine price wars are dumbing down market, says report

Published:  07 April, 2014

Supermarket wine price wars are threatening to'dumb down British consumers' attitudes to wine, exclusive research from Harpers Data & Insight team reveals.

HD&IHarpers Data & Insights

Supermarket wine price wars are threatening to 'dumb down' British consumers' attitudes to wine, exclusive research from Harpers new Data & Insight team reveals.

Demystifying the Consumer, a report due out next week, focuses on the buying habits of British wine drinkers in the off-trade market, shows that consumers' obsession with price over quality is beginning to affect the supply chain.

It shows that a third of consumers cannot name a single grape variety and only 4% can name more than 10. While men have greater wine knowledge than women, this wasn't reflected in how much they were prepared to pay. During the past year, eight out of 10 bottles sold in the retail sector were under £6.

The report comprehensively explores the still wine market in the UK's off trade, with key findings including 54% of wine drinkers in the UK "refuse to spend more than £6" per bottle of wine, while only 7% are willing to pay upwards of £10 for a bottle.

Checking out how spending differs across the country, Londoners are most prepared to part with their cash, but the disparities are wider than might be expected. Only 12% of Londoners seek out sub £5 bargains, compared with 41% in the West Midlands. In the north-east, only 2% are happy to spend more than £10.

Initial findings have been reported in national press titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Daily Mail.

The report, which is combination of proprietary consumer survey data and market consensus research, and includes over 1,000 extensive interviews with UK consumers, focuses on: 

  • Which wines are being bought by which age groups
  • How wine buying habits differ by region
  • How comfortable Britons are spending on a bottle of wine and the maximum they would consider spending in the off-trade
  • Most popular wine brands
  • Key barriers for British consumers to buying wine

The report also identifies two major hurdles - that suppliers might pull out of the UK as they opt for more lucrative markets elsewhere, and that the UK's focus on cost over quality could mean it becomes a dumping ground for surplus supplies of wine. 

The full report is available through Harpers Data & Insights service, owned by William Reed Business Media, and will be ready to download here at the end of next week priced £1,250.

You can pre-order the report by clicking here.