aus us uk story image 180x180 - Common experience, different response?

The first three Covid-19 Impact Reports from Wine Intelligence have focused on the English-speaking markets of Australia, the US, and the UK. Comparing the data shows some remarkable consistencies, but some equally interesting contrasts

In the past few weeks Wine Intelligence has published three reports about consumer behaviour and attitudes to wine during the Covid-19 pandemic, part of a 12 market research study that will continue to publish new reports throughout the next few months.

The three reports so far happen to have been focused on three of the major English-speaking markets for wine globally: Australia, the US, and the UK. Now that we have the chance to compare the three of them, what patterns can we observe about how consumers are responding to the various forms of lockdown and coronavirus infection rates in each market?

At first glance, and despite differences in infection rates and government responses, the behaviours and trends we have seen in those three markets seem remarkably consistent. Broadly, wine consumers have stayed strongly connected to the category, switching the volumes they consumed in on-premise into larger off-premise purchasing, and finding new occasions (online chats, earlier pre-dinner drinks) in which to enjoy a glass.

Prior to lockdown, our data was showing a long-term growth trend in the number of wine drinking occasions in all three markets. The measures and restrictions put into place because of the virus have caused similar reactions amongst regular wine drinkers. In the US and UK wine drinkers are drinking more frequently, whilst the Australians have kept their consumption stable. But in all markets, more informal at-home occasions such as during a call with family and friends or outside mealtimes are making up for the closure of restaurants, bars and pubs.

However, whilst the overall patterns seem similar, upon closer examination, the underlying drivers of behaviour and attitude are different. Younger adult consumers under 25 – also known as Gen Z – were infrequent wine drinkers before lockdown. In the UK and Australia, the pandemic has further reduced their connection with wine, most likely because wine was associated with a highly social public occasion in their lives previously. However, in the US Gen Zs are drinking a bit more often – probably due to having more meals at home.

In the US and the UK, the 25-39 year olds – widely known as the Millennials – are the ones who have primarily driven the increase in wine drinking frequency. They are more likely than other age cohorts to be found drinking wine whilst catching up online with friends or family or outside mealtimes during the day. However Australian Millennials have not changed their overall wine drinking frequency, though they too have been more enthusiastic adopters of these new wine occasions.

Perhaps the biggest contrasts can be found amongst older consumers in each market. Boomers are reacting differently depending on the national context: whilst largely not affected in the UK, they are drinking less frequently in the US and Australia. Whilst in the US they are less likely to drink for any occasion, Boomers in the UK and Australia are drinking more often than other age cohorts with lunch or dinner, but not as often outside mealtimes.

Gen X (40-54) is the only age cohort showing consistent behaviour in all markets. Before the lockdown measures were put into place, they used to be the second most frequent wine drinking segment – most frequent in the US even – and now during lockdown they are drinking wine at more occasions consistently across all markets.

Change in Frequency Aus US UK graph 1 - Common experience, different response?

Source: Wine Intelligence Vinitrac® Global, Mar ’20 (23rd March 2020 – 16th April 2020), n>=1,000 regular wine drinkers in each market

Whilst consumption frequency shows some variation across markets, there is one trend we observe consistently across all markets: spend is down. This is mostly driven by Gen Z drinkers in both UK and Australia, whilst in the US Boomers seem to be more cautious in their spending during lockdown.

What is reassuring for the wine industry though is that in all markets – a bit more so in the UK and US – wine drinkers are quite cautious about their future spending behaviours, however wine still seems to be high up on the list of priorities. Although across all markets, going on holidays and planes are not really on the agenda in the near future, wine drinkers appear to preserve their need for adventure and indulgence and prioritise trying new food and drinks and treating themselves with better quality wine when restrictions are lifted – especially younger generations Gen Z and Millennials.

Future priorities Aus US UK graph 2 - Common experience, different response?

Source: Wine Intelligence Vinitrac® Global, Mar ’20 (23rd March 2020 – 16th April 2020), n>=1,000 regular wine drinkers in each market


Tina 1 180x180 - Common experience, different response?Author: Tina Fruth


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply