High shelves - Polar retailing

UK wine retail is seeing the rise of down-at-heel discounters and posh independents

Ever since the early 1990s, the dominant trope in UK retail circles has been the triumph of the large-format supermarket group. Those poor souls in their way – smaller supermarket chains, independent greengrocers, butchers, baker’s shops, high street off-licences, in fact any alternative retail format – all were destined to be steamrollered by the inevitable victory of buying power and big marketing budgets.

Now we are coming to understand that so-called inevitabilities in shopping rarely turn out that way, and that things can change very quickly in the retail world, as the much-publicised struggles of the Big Four supermarket chains continue, and discount retailers continue to increase their market share. Increased competition pressure, both from amongst the supermarket chains themselves and from new sources, has resulted in an extremely tough market – but it has also resulted in an increase of choice for the consumer.

Whether because of this, or perhaps because culturally we are in a different place to a generation ago, the way people shop has changed, with more and more moving away from the traditional weekly visit to an out-of-town superstore, choosing instead to shop little and often, from a variety of retailers.

But with all the changes that have been going on, what has been the effect on wine? The combination of all-in-one-place convenience, competitive prices and trustworthy big-brand names has meant that supermarkets have always been an extremely popular place to shop for wine. But our infographic shows that some of the general retail trends of late can indeed be observed with respect to wine. Discounters are firmly on the map, and independent retailers are resurgent, but is this at the cost of the supermarket? Click the image to view more – and don’t miss our UK Retail Trends 2015 Report, released this Thursday in the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop.

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Author: Chris Giles

Email: chris@wineintelligence.com