Sparkling Wine in the US Market 2019 reveals that although sparkling wine consumption is declining, highly motivated Millennials entering the market are bringing new opportunities – particularly for imports
The findings of our latest sparkling wine report reveal that in the US, sparkling wine continues to be an alcoholic beverage associated with special occasions and celebrations, but overall consumption frequency appears to be declining year on year. This decline in frequency aligns with the health and moderation trend emerging globally and matches a pattern of decreased volume consumption across all alcoholic beverages in the US.
Aside from the challenges of decreased volume consumption, domestic wine in the US is also under threat as the imported wine trade continues to grow. Imported wines now outsell domestic sparkling wine by three million cases, with Italian sparkling wine holding 37% of the market share. The relative decline in domestic sparkling usage has correlated with a trend decline in quality perceptions and value for money of domestic sparkling wines. Our report finds that US domestic sparkling wines were ranked as offering the least value for money. Trade insights indicate that this trend is driven by the quantities of Italian wine sold overshadowing other sparkling wine types due to their appealing price point.
On a more positive note, domestic brands Barefoot Bubbly and Cupcake have not been subject to cognitive off-loading as with other brands in the market. Cognitive offloading is the process of relying increasingly on instant, online resources for information, rather than committing information to long-term memory, and it has been seen by the decrease in consumer awareness of a broad range of sparkling wine brands in the US. However, Barefoot Bubbly is ranked as the most powerful sparkling wine brand in the US market, outperforming all other brands for purchase and connection.
The key focus for those in the industry is now Millennial consumers. In a similar pattern to other global markets, more of these younger drinkers are entering the category and are rapidly becoming the main consumers of sparkling wine. Involvement levels with sparkling wine have been boosted by these motivated Millennials, who are highly involved in the category and more open-minded about their sparkling wine choices. Previously, Baby Boomers were driving the sales of sparkling wine, but our data finds that they are now drinking less frequently and contributing to the slowing growth of sparkling wine in the US. Category disengagement is driven by these older consumers, particularly male sparkling wine drinkers who are less likely to feel competent in their knowledge of wine and view sparkling wine as less important to their lifestyle compared with younger men.
With sparkling wine volume consumption declining amongst growing trends of cognitive offloading, health and moderation, US wine producers will need to focus their efforts on Millennial consumers to make their impact in the domestic market and get their brands noticed on the shelves.