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LWF: Visitors numbers fall by 2%

Published:  19 May, 2016

The organisers of the London Wine Fair have reported a decrease in visitor numbers for this year's show.

The organisers of the London Wine Fair have reported a decrease in visitor numbers for this year's show.

The fair saw 14,401 attendees this year.

This was 2% less than in 2015 but more than in 2014, which was the year that the fair returned to the London Olympia.

Visitor breakdown by sector remained the same, with just under a third (30%) of visitors attending from the on-trade, and 10% of visitors from the independent sector.

Elliot Awin, business development and partner at Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies, said the drop in footfall was mitigated by the proportion of movers and shakers walking through the door.

He said: "Traffic did feel quieter than previous years, however the quality of visitor seemed much improved and we saw key buyers and journalists on both the ABS main stand and our smaller Australia's Best kept Secrets (ABkS) stand."

Rebecca Palmer, associate director and buyer at Corney & Barrow, said she had initially approached the fair with scepticism, but was pleasantly surprised with the turnout.

"Honestly, I doubted that the London Wine Fair could or should ever be resurrected, after all the trade is on a year round tastingathon anyway, and I was ambivalent about the previous two years," she said.

"But this year I felt the old spirit back in the room. There was a lot of business being done, and on many different levels - international, off-trade, on-trade, both mainstream and eclectic. I found the fair to be well thought-out, with a broad mix of exhibitors and activities."

She added: "The Wines Unearthed (unsigned talent) section was particularly useful for scoping out potential. Plenty of space for meetings, off-stand, which is important."

This year's fair was marked by a new partnership with Bottlebooks, a digital platform which racked up 26,700 searches in the weeks leading up to the show and on-site.

The app revived the thumbs up from Awin, who added: "The new Bottlebooks initiative allowed us to advertise on-stand tastings of our ABkS wines, which booked out immediately they went live and were a great success in bringing people to the stand who may not have discovered us otherwise. We'll certainly be adding more of these next year."

The most popular wine searches were via countries, with France, Argentina and Australia in the lead.

The two most popular grape varieties searched for were Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Looking back at the three-day event, the fair's director Ross Carter stressed quality over quality as an over-arching theme.

He said: "The feedback we have had for this year's show has been overwhelmingly positive, from exhibitors and visitors alike. Exhibitors have reported a really high quality audience, with key decision makers from across the categories attending.

"Three years in to its return to Olympia, the trade has embraced the fair in its current guise, citing its manageability and relevance to the market as key factors to its success."

The 2017 London Wine Fair will take place from 22 to 24 May at Olympia.