Couple drinking wine while looking at an Ipad - Wine and tablets: A potent combination

The increased use of hand-held computing devices like iPads could be good news for online sales

For the global wine industry, increasingly reliant on online sales, the tablet is becoming the key consumer interface, as newly released Wine Intelligence consumer data demonstrates. In both the USA and the UK, there is a strong correlation between tablet ownership and buying wine on the internet. Americans who own iPads or similar devices are 2.5 times more likely than non-owners to shop for wine online. We find that, as a whole, 7% of regular wine drinkers use the internet to buy wine, compared to 19% of tablet owners.Christmas is coming, and the must-have gadget is a tablet: an iPad (standard, or mini), a Google Nexus, a Samsung Galaxy, or any of a host of rival launches. They way the world uses computers has been transformed in just two years, since the first tablet rolled off Apple’s production line.

In the UK, the figures aren’t quite as emphatic, but the trend is similar nonetheless: tablet owners are 40% more likely to buy wine from an online source (22% versus 16%).

Tablet ownership is more developed in the USA than in the UK. The Consumer Electronics Association calculates that 31% of American online consumers now have tablet devices, compared to 11% a year ago. Two-thirds of online consumers expect to buy a tablet in the future, its survey found. In the UK, digital research firm eMarketer predicted that 19% of British web users will have tablets by the end of 2012, with the figure rising to 46% within four years.

As of April 2012, when our survey ran, 12% of UK monthly wine drinkers owned a tablet computer, whilst 25% of the equivalent population in America had tablets. In China, where imported wine drinkers are still a relatively small proportion of the population, a whopping 38% of this select group are tablet owners.

Wine Intelligence’s research also covers social media usage, and reveals a quirky statistic from the USA. American Twitter users – who represent more than a quarter of the wine drinking population – are more than twice as likely to shop for wine online as those who don’t use Twitter. Yet among Facebook users, curiously, we notice no difference at all in online shopping habits.