Poland’s wine landscape has transformed since 2015 – and Millennials seem to be the ones responsible
Poland’s economy has changed dramatically since our previous Poland Landscapes was published in 2015. It is now classified as a ‘Developed Market’ by FTSE Russell (having moved up from ‘Emerging Market’), it is the largest single market among the newer EU states and has risen to be the EU’s sixth largest economy in terms of GDP. Although traditionally known for their love of beer and spirits, the wine category has grown nearly 60% in sales since joining the EU in 2004, thanks to the growing access to the product (and, correspondingly, the wine drinking habit) courtesy of their wine-loving EU neighbours.
Partly due to the accessibility of wine, Polish regular wine drinkers have shown an increased interest and knowledge of the wine category. They are now further engaged and confident with category, taking an active interest in learning where wines come from and experimenting with a wider range of styles. Knowledge about wine-producing countries and/or regions of origin has grown over the past few years, and these factors are now taking on a more important role in the purchasing decisions of Polish wine drinkers. More are now able to recall the country of origin of the wines they have consumed, compared to 3 years ago, and more are experimenting with a wider range of white and red varietals.
This experimental behaviour is more prominent among Millennials, who account for the largest proportion of wine drinkers in Poland (39% under the age of 35). While the economy is growing and consumer confidence is increasing, the country has also seen a rise of young professionals who are being paid more, which allows them to buy discretionary goods such as wine, and has also given them the means to to travel more. Visits to large wine-producing and consuming countries, such as France and Italy, have encouraged the demand for similar tasting wines in Poland. During these Western and Southern European visits, young Polish Millennials are exposed to a wine culture different from their own, and upon return, they bring back some of these cultural influences. While the older generation of drinkers are keen to stick with what they know, maintaining that tradition of hard spirits and vodka, the younger generation are keen to break the stereotype and adopt a Western European way of alcohol consumption.
The natural curiosity and adventurousness of the Millennial generation make them an ideal demographic to work with when promoting change. And this is what we are seeing in the Polish wine market. According to our panel of trade experts, wine companies are creating more fun and practical learning experiences for the emerging population of young wine drinkers, meeting their demands for increased exposure to different varieties of wine. In fact, Millennials are so engaged in the category, they not easily discouraged, even when presented with the legal complexities of online wine-purchasing – technically it remains an illegal channel, but younger Polish people are using it anyway.
More information about the developments of the wine market in Poland can be found in the Poland Landscapes 2018 report.
Author: Caroline Mou