New behaviours among Finnish consumers boost Rieslings, sparkling and premium wines
In common with other mature European markets, Finland’s wine-drinking population is on the decline – down to 1.5m regular wine drinkers in 2021, compared with 1.9m in 2018, according to the Wine Intelligence Finland Landscapes 2021 report.
Around half of this population is now represented by consumers aged 55 and above, who make up 49% of regular wine drinkers in Finland. Boomers and Gen X are the most frequent wine drinkers; whereas nearly three-quarters of LDA Gen Z only drink wine monthly.
New behavioural trends have surfaced this year among Finnish wine drinkers, in part driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. While Finland has long been a strong market for New World wines – especially Chilean – key Old World production countries are now gaining ground. Chile remains the most widely consumed country of origin, but has lost some of its audience, while Germany, Portugal and Italy have grown in terms of reaching a broader audience of drinkers.
Italian wines benefitted in particular from the boom in sparkling consumption, led by Prosecco, which now has more drinkers in Finland than any other region. Portugal is growing its base of Finnish drinkers, with a Portuguese brand now established in the top five most powerful wine brands in Finland (Wine Intelligence Brand Power Index 2021). Wines from Germany are increasingly making an impact too, with Riesling emerging as the preferred white wine grape variety among Finnish regular wine drinkers. Changes in consumer tastes, successful communication initiatives and new offerings appear to have stimulated this development, according to the experts interviewed for this report.
In a strong market for Bag-in-Box wines, the pandemic stimulated a boost in demand, with the previously legislated tax break for sustainable packaging also driving the format’s appeal. Simultaneously, Finns’ wine purchases are moving further towards premium, with regular wine drinkers spending more per bottle of wine this year across all off-premise occasions; as yet, however, this trend for trading up has not been reflected in the on-premise.
As Covid-19 restrictions on travel reduced opportunities for consumers to make cross-border purchases in person, wine drinkers – especially Gen Zs and millennials – shifted to buying online from other countries; this trend is anticipated to continue in the future.