What are the opportunities in the wine market following COVID-19?
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on many industries, including the wine market. The OIV (Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin) anticipates a 35% drop in sales volume and a 50% drop in value over the year 2020 in Europe. In order to face up to this, many challenges but also great opportunities await wine producers.
The impact of COVID-19 on the wine market
To obtain a more comprehensive view of the situation and prospects for the wine industry, the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Changins, in collaboration with the European Association of Wine Economists (EuAWE), conducted a study on the behaviour of wine consumers in Switzerland during the semi-lockdown period and their expectations.
Following the 927 responses received, the results have been analysed and present some encouraging news.
The Swiss, especially the Latins, consumed more wine during the lockdown
Figure 1 illustrates a trend towards increased consumption of wine at the expense of beer and spirits.
Emergence of new consumption patterns
Figure 2 illustrates both some cultural differences between language regions in terms of consumption patterns and the impact of social distancing on them. Before the crisis, the majority of respondents frequently drank wine with family (87%), friends (92%) and colleagues (51%). The crisis has brought about major changes. Consumption among friends and colleagues has collapsed but has not completely disappeared, which is a reflection of the soft lockdown implemented in Switzerland. Almost a third of the population regularly took part in remote wine tasting sessions. However, only 18% expect to continue to do so in the future. These consumption patterns, therefore, seem to reflect a short-lived trend that is intrinsically linked to the nature of the measures taken to contain the pandemic.
Upward direct sales
Consumers use three main purchasing channels: supermarkets (85% of respondents buying wine at least once a year), specialised shops (85%) and direct purchases at wineries (80%). This shows the strength of Swiss wine producers. The advantages of direct sales include a contact list that can be used directly by the winegrower for marketing purposes, a close relationship between the producer and his/her customers – which can increase the loyalty of the latter – fewer intermediaries and more direct control over the management of distribution channels.
At the European level, the study carried out in seven other countries (Spain, Belgium, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Portugal) reinforces this analysis by presenting similar results such as
- an increase in the frequency of wine consumption;
- changes in the way wine is bought and consumed;
- anxiety and precariousness, but also taste and digital media as consumption accelerators.
Four tips to attract your customers’ attention
Of course, the wine industry has been negatively affected by the pandemic and is still facing considerable uncertainty. However, the historical proximity that Swiss winegrowers maintain with their customers through direct sales combined with a willingness to consume more locally offer reasons for measured optimism from a longer-term perspective. Let’s use this optimistic momentum to turn the following opportunities into successful relaunches.
1. Stand out with an original wine bottle
The first opportunity for each producer is to showcase their products. A personalised wine bottle can help you stand out effectively. In fact, consumers use their five senses when choosing their product in the store. A 360° personalisation of your wine bottle is an eye-catcher, and the creation of 3D elements reinforces the sensation of touch. Thus, you will benefit from an attractive enhancement of your products, ideal for boosting sales!
« A personalised glass bottle is attractive and arouses emotions. »
In this particular period, which is favourable to direct sales from local producers, customers are focusing all the more on authenticity. That is why a customised packaging solution fitting your brand highlights your authentic, real and honest product.
2. Reinventing wine events
The pandemic has taken the place of many summer events that usually generate significant sales. That is why every producer has the chance to rethink how to attract customers to their field. The trend is towards direct sales! Direct contact by offering a tasting at the estate in a personalised wine glass makes a lasting impression. And why not offer a personalised glass with your logo with the purchase of bottles of wine at the winery? In addition to providing an offer that will appeal to the general public, the wine glass allows your customer to keep a souvenir and represents a lasting link between the producer and the consumer.
3. Adopt communication that is close to your customers
Social media is the key tool that allows you to maintain a relationship with your customers. And this is even more true in this time of crisis! It is a way to convey your strong messages to your community. For example, Domaine Gérald Besse (@domainegeraldbesse) has shown imagination by filming wine-related activities during the lockdown. The Edmund Constantin winery has also innovated, for example by organising a Wine Drive-In. The pioneer of online wine tasting could be the Rhodan winery in Salgesch, which digitally guided customers through a wine tasting during the Corona period. Or Mikaël Magliocco (Daniel Magliocco & Fils), who launched online tastings entitled “The winemaker in your living room” to comment on his wines. At the same time, Cave du Tambourin has made it possible to taste its new vintages in your living room by developing mini bottles. Moreover, many cellars have also introduced home delivery.
These are just a few creative and innovative examples of how wineries have adapted to this extraordinary situation.
Moreover, the trend for local producers is strong. According to the study, Swiss wine producers seem to have been able to exploit this trend and have been very active on social networks, with more than half of those surveyed saying they have received offers through these channels.
Let your community get involved in your professional life by sharing your days, special actions and team. Nothing could be more authentic! By the way, Univerre is happy to share your photos of glasses and bottles, so don’t hesitate to tag us in your publications.
4. Participate in the relaunch of restaurants
With restaurants being closed, they have not sold any wine for the last few months. Therefore, they have neither the need nor the financial means to stock up during this period. It is for this reason that Passeport Gourmand has joined forces with Gault & Millau Suisse and L’Illustré to launch the project entitled “Tous au resto” (French for “everyone to the restaurants”), which encourages the recovery of the restaurant sector. This unprecedented support plan aims to encourage gastronomes to return to all the restaurants in French-speaking Switzerland as soon as possible, offering them immediate cashback (in the form of a voucher) to thank them for their solidarity. The objective of “Tous au Resto” is to instil a positive spirit of solidarity for restaurants, customers, partners and the economy in general.
MyGlass.ch is proud to be actively involved in the “Tous au Resto” solidarity operation, which aims to help restaurants emerge from the crisis by rewarding customers with attractive vouchers. Take part in the campaign and benefit from a CHF 10 voucher on www.myglass.ch.
Swiss Wine Summer 2020
This summer, “stay local”. Indeed, what could be better after a mountain hike or a bike ride by a lake than a good meal accompanied by a glass of Swiss wine? To support the gastronomy and hotel sector, Swiss Wine Promotion will launch its national summer campaign in June: “Swiss Wine Summer”. The participating establishments will offer you three Swiss wines by the glass throughout the summer. Read more
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