Consumer confidence in the wine category is increasing, driven by the ‘experience economy’ and a growing engagement with the drinks category overall, according to the most recent Wine Intelligence UK Portraits 2018 report

The number of higher-involved wine consumers in the UK is growing as more drinkers are growing their engagement in activities such as wine tourism, according to the latest UK Portraits segmentation.

This segment of wine drinkers defined in the Wine Intelligence UK wine drinker segmentation Portraits as Adventurous Explorers (formerly Adventurous Connoisseurs), now accounts for 17% of UK monthly wine drinkers, compared with 10% of regular wine drinkers two years ago. Wine remains an anchor point of their lifestyle, but their connection with the category is being enhanced just as much by the ‘Instagram moment’ of wine drinking moments as they steadily grow their wine knowledge and confidence.

The research suggests that the growing number of consumers showing engagement in wine may be influenced by the evolution of adjacent alcohol categories such as beer and gin, where consumers are becoming used to a more diverse and provenance-based offering that demands more mind-space. The growing quality and accessibility of wine tourism experiences in southern England, combined with more sophisticated and well-marketed wine tourism in major holiday destinations also appears to be fuelling the trend.

This broader engagement factor may also be at work within the youngest and least-experienced group of wine consumers in the UK, who are displaying growing confidence in the wine category. Historically known as the Risk-Averse Youngsters segment, this group’s name has been changed in the new study to Social Newbies, reflecting their increased tolerance of risk in the category and concentration on social occasions for wine consumption.

In all, the UK Portraits 2018 groups UK regular wine drinkers into six different segments, based on their relationship with the wine category: Adventurous Explorers, Generation Treaters, Mainstream Matures, Social Newbies, Kitchen Casuals and Bargain Hunters.

The segment with the second highest involvement after Adventurous Explorers is the younger group of Generation Treaters, who maintain their 11% share of the regular wine drinking population. They remain the highest spending group on average on a bottle of wine and account for 26% of total spending on wine in the UK.

Mainstream-at-Homers have transitioned to Mainstream Matures, as they have moved away from drinking at home and are now more likely to drink wine socially when out of home as well. They account for 28% of UK regular wine drinkers and are the oldest and most experienced segment, who enjoy familiar wine and are driven strongly by value when buying wine.

This latest study identified a growing comfort level with wine as a category among all segments, with the lower involvement segments such as Social Newbies especially benefiting from easily-navigated sub-categories, such as Prosecco and rosé, and the growing range and quality of wine available in convenience channels.

There is also a notable consistency of positive views of wine offers available at the discounters such as Aldi and Lidl, with groups as diverse as Adventurous Explorers and Social Newbies seeing those stores as offering good value for both high-end and everyday wines.

Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead commented “Consumer relationships with wine exist within a broader social and cultural context, and we are seeing evidence of that in our latest research. The category is now engaging a broader group of consumers, but it is a different type of engagement compared with a decade ago. In the past, a highly involved consumer might differentiate their wine credentials by knowing the difference between the left and right bank in Bordeaux, but a quick check on your phone can now answer that question. Today’s credentials are more experience-oriented – perhaps that they tasted six different Albariños while visiting Galicia recently, and now know which one is their favourite.”

Author: Richard Halstead

Email: Richard@wineintelligence.com

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