Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report 2019: Purse strings tighten but premium prevails

Premium outlets across Britain continue to successfully sell quality wine despite a challenging environment, according to the 2019 Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report, developed in partnership with CGA.

The fifth edition of the report looks at the reasons behind successful wine sales in premium on-trade outlets across the country and investigates how they are outperforming the mainstream on-trade.

Liberty Wines has combined specialist on-trade sales data with bespoke consumer research to analyse the market over the last five years, spotting the opportunities and revealing the reasons behind the sustained growth of wine sales in the premium on-trade market.

The report findings show:

1. PREMIUM POWER – Premium on-trade sales have grown or held steady in each of the last five years, while sales outside premium have been in consistent decline

2. INCREASING PROFITABILITY - Average spend per bottle increased +9% per year between 2015 and 2018 in the premium on-trade, significantly above inflation

3. EXPERIENCE AND QUALITY COUNT - Quality wine and consumer experience increase wine's share of alcohol purchases by 11 percentage points in the premium on-trade

4. DINNER COMPANION – Premium wine drinkers confirm that the only occasion in which they are drinking more often than before is with dinner.  (+9% more consumers are drinking more often than less often)

New this year is a detailed profile of the premium wine drinker drawn from analysis of the responses of over 1,000 high spending consumers who have drunk wine in the last six months in the premium on-trade. This pinpoints consumer characteristics and identifies what motivates them to try different or more expensive wines. It specifically identifies three main characteristics of the premium wine drinker that differentiates them from their non-premium counterparts:

1. Premium wine drinkers purchase wine in the on-trade significantly more often than non-premium drinkers

2. Premium wine drinkers have a very different attitude towards choosing wine – price is significantly lower in importance whereas grape, country and region are almost as important  

3. Premium wine drinkers have higher expectations and demand more to become loyal customers – they are more likely to want to try new places

Looking deeper into the wines behind the numbers, the report studies the preferences of the premium on-trade consumer and looks at what they are prepared to pay more for:

1. For white wines, Italy and New Zealand outperform the rest of the world by some margin,  having increased both volume sales and average bottle spend

2. Average spend per bottle is also up across all the major red grapes, and across all countries in premium outlets, contrasting sharply with outside premium where the average spend per bottle of almost all varieties fell

3. In 2018, Prosecco has cut a swathe through the market, exceeding 2.2m bottles (almost double the previous year’s sales) and boosting the growth of the overall sparkling market by +17% on 2017, with average bottle spend also up +5%

Londoners remain adventurous drinkers and the range of successful grape varieties has expanded more in the capital than outside. This is alongside increased spending across the country on the nation’s three favourite varieties of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Despite the political and commercial uncertainty facing the capital and beyond, the report uncovers the reasons behind successful wine sales in premium on-trade outlets across the country.

David Gleave MW, managing director of Liberty Wines, says, “It is clear that consumers are still responding positively to help from informed staff, are looking for more, not less information on the wines and regions, and are actively seeking encouragement to try different wines.  They are calling for good glassware and well-designed wine lists to help make their choices easier."

“These characteristics of the premium on-trade set this sector apart from the rest of the industry.  They are relatively straightforward for on-trade operators to put into practice and, when combined with a good range of well-chosen wines, will lead to happier consumers who we believe will reward outlets that respond to their needs.” 

To learn more about the report or to request a copy, please email your usual contact or [email protected]