What we learned this year is that tragedies come unannounced and they mess up our projects; therefore also forecasts for wine market 2021 seems an almost mission impossible.
The trends of 2020 could go downhill and disappear in the next few years, or may be not; at this point any opinion is, in fact, an opinion. The 2020 data however indicate a change in consumer behavior, although we cannot yet measure its speed. With the end of the emergency and the return to previous behaviors, will the amount of wine sold offline increase or not? Will the habit of online purchases remain? What about tastings via Zoom or Skype?
WineIntelligence has tried to make forecasts for wine market 2021; only in a year we will see if they are right. What it will happen next year we will know it in 2021 which will therefore become interesting for the 2022 market. 2020 is certainly a huge break-down in many sectors. Wine market isn’t the same all around the world, and there’re some difference between USA and Europe. Here in Italy we haven’t so many wine clubs as in USA or Australia; this is of course a great way to involve the consumer’s involvement.
Volumes decreased due to the closure or sharp slowdown of restaurant, hotels, wine bar. On the other hand, average prices also decreased; with the normalization of the situation, these channels will once again become the first sales channel. Online purchases will return to the prerogative of the wine lovers who go in search of the particular wine and noble wineries. There will not be a sudden increase in prices, however, many countries in the New World have a lot of wine in excess, which they will have to dispose of. And let’s not forget the Chinese tariffs on Australian wine, another factor of uncertainty.
The online market has undoubtedly also favored formats and packaging that are not so broadly used for wine. On the 2021 wine market, bag-in-box and cans will also have an impact on the spread, two formats that have proved extremely valid for delivery. They are convenient to carry and store and less easy to break. They also allow, in both cases, to have the right amount of wine at home. The bag-in-box with the dosing tap allows you to store the wine that remains safely. These are standard mass-market’s wines, and it will then be up to the marketing to find a way to clear these packaging, as I wrote in this post some time ago.
The can contains just over two glasses, and therefore suitable for those who stayed at home in smartworking, perhaps alone. In 2021 we will not have the same volumes as in 2020, but it is likely that this segment, rising from 2018, will also become interesting next year. As I wrote above, Old and New World markets are different, and if bag-in-box are quite used, in Europe (mainly Italy and France) the cans for wines are literally a blasphemy.
Another thing that this 2020 brought to the world of wine was the virtual tastings. Without wishing to make bold predictions on the wine market, this will be a channel that will see a sharp decline in 2021. The wine lover needs to go to the fair or even better to the cellar to taste in the company of other people. The producer needs fairs to meet, talk, communicate the enthusiasm of being a wine producer.
Fairs are a driver for the entire Horeca and touristic sector: think about Verona, which this year saw no visitors at its fairs. The convenience of meeting international distributors and importers is undoubtedly great, using live video. They certainly cannot replace live meeting; however, they will be a useful second channel, a convenient method for direct meetings with buyers operating in markets such as Asia and Australia.
With the digital channels we have another way to know who our customers are: the data analysis. The growth of newsletters, online sales, wine club subscribers generates a huge amount of data we can analyze. So restaurants and wine bar can know when it’s better to promote an offer, to propose a wine label, to organize a tasting and which wines with. In my personal forecasts for wine market 2021, this will be a great opportunity for all those companies making data analysis for wine and hospitality, helping their customer to take advantage from consumer habits. The trick is to make easy the data harvest and deliver results; the obstacle is to learn to producers, restaurants, hotels, that results aren’t immediate. But I think that digital wine data companies have to do it.
I believe that the great lesson learned from the world of wine is that the consumer must be involved and followed. The increase in newsletters also goes in this direction. Staying closer to customers, knowing their tastes and purchasing and consumption habits will become the real value of wine clubs and e-commerce. The targeted offers, the dedicated (live) tastings, the news coming directly from the cellar, can have a huge acceleration in 2021.
If data companies will be able to guide their customers, this will open up good prospects. So, among the forecasts for wine market 2021, I would put just this, the use of data and the ability to build a personal relationship with wine lovers and enthusiasts.