Sopexa, the international marketing and communication agency specialised in food, drink and lifestyle, releases the findings of the 2018 Wine Trade Monitor, an international study focusing on key trends in the global wine market. And this year, for the first time, the study includes sparkling wines alongside still wines.
Sopexa has adopted a unique approach: canvassing local wine trade professionals, true consumer gatekeepers, harnessing their frontline perception of the wine market in order to understand and anticipate the latest breaking trends.
In 2018, 781 stakeholders, including importers, wholesalers and retailers from 6 major markets – Belgium, Canada, United States, Japan, China and Hong Kong – presented their 2-year forecast on market development and key trends, the highlights of which are presented below :
Wine Listings: Which wines & Where?
- Currently listed by 92% of respondents, France remains the most popular wine-producing country in wine portfolios, followed by Italy (76%) and Spain (71%).
- Leading challenger countries Chile, Australia and the United States are becoming increasingly present and are now listed by 45 – 56% of operators.
Italian wines gain ground: 41% of all respondents cite Italian wines as one of the top performing countries in terms of sales progression over the next two years.
Looking globally at 2017 wine sales, and for the two years to come, 82% of the trade see France holding on to its strong lead ahead of other countries of origin. This is particularly notable in the United States, Hong Kong and Belgium. However, the study does shed light on the relative fragility of French wines in China and Canada, where operators predict that French wines will see increased competition, particularly from Italian wines.
Italian wines score most favourably in Canada, where 2/3 of professionals place them in the top 3 sales performers in 2017. They are also enjoying increased visibility in China, where 42% of respondents name Italian wines in the top three countries of origin in terms of predicted sales growth over the next two years.
Brand Image (by country of origin)
In terms of global image, France still tops the rankings, and remains significantly ahead of the competition. 64% of professionals taking part in the survey consider France to be by far the most successful country of origin in terms of image.
However, the image of French wines in China and Canada is seen to wane slightly, where the sales outlook for France shows a similar trend.
- For « Price attractiveness» and « Wines for every day », Spain and Chile are among the best performers, followed by Italy, which stands out as the most successful in terms of « Innovation».
Future Trends in packaging formats
- Asian markets remain particularly attached to wines sold in bottle
Almost 2/3 of operators surveyed in Asia consider that half bottles and other small formats are set to see the highest growth.
- Demand for alternative packaging formats set to see growth in North America
More than 40% of professionals state a preference for boxed wine and canned formats.
- Though welcomed in Asia, digital packaging technology is less popular in North America
75% of Japanese professionals and 54% of Chinese professionals view digital packaging and labelling as an interesting way to communicate with ultra-connected end-consumers and to provide assurance for the consumer as to the wine’s origin, authenticity and traceability.
Wine category dynamics
- Organic wines break into the top 3 categories for the first time (according to more than 35% of respondents (not including China and Hong Kong)
- Regional wines sell and remain the most important category over the next two years.
- Rosé wines continue to soar in North America, for more than 1 in 4 US professionals surveyed, and more than
1 in 2 in Canada.
Regions: future dynamics
- Four French regions lead the field for red wines: Bordeaux, Languedoc, Côtes du Rhône and Bourgogne
- New Zealand whites impress : Belgium aside, wines from Marlborough claim their position across the board in the top 2 highest expected growth performers for white wines.
But the Loire Valley whites win over Americans
- A rosy outlook for rosé wines from Provence and Corsica, predicted to be among the top 3 sales performers for rosé wines of 63% of all professionals.
- Prosecco and Cava: expected to make a sparkling performance across all markets
Grape Variety dynamics
- A stable picture Globally, the 4 classic grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Merlot – should continue to see the greatest demand over the next 2 years. But the success of Chenin blanc in the USA could potentially signal a new trend in the wine market!
 Excluding spirits and fortified wines
Illustrations : marieclairegrafilles.com