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UK drinkers loyal to wine despite credit squeeze

Published:  23 July, 2008

Consumers continue to keep faith in wine, with many reluctant to reduce their spending despite the gloomy economic climate, according to figures out today (May 21) at the London International Wine Fair (LIWF).

A survey commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) showed the sector is proving resilient, regardless of recent duty hikes and an ongoing global credit squeeze.

The research, conducted by Wine Intelligence, questioned 1,000 regular wine drinkers and discovered 60% would readily cut back on buying beer, soft drinks, chocolate and sweets before reducing their wine expenditure.

The survey showed that 13% thought wine was inexpensive or very inexpensive, 52% had no definite opinion, and 35% thought it was expensive or very expensive.

Jeremy Beadles, WSTA chief executive, said: "With household budgets feeling the squeeze, it should be some comfort to the trade that many regular wine drinkers will pause for thought before they cut back on wine purchases."

The study assessed price changes in the sector over the last six-month period. Wine ranked near the bottom in wine consumers' minds for weight of price increases.

Half of the respondents had noticed no real change in wine prices over the last six months, while the majority judged wine to have undergone less significant price increases than household staples such as bread, poultry, cheese and coffee.

The picture for the on-trade was more negative, as 77% of consumers who drink wine by the glass think it is more expensive. But wine trailed beer in the on-trade in terms of consumers' perceived price increases in the last six months.