The Present and Future of Wine Retailing

wineintelligenceOnline wine specialists are siphoning off more engaged consumers from the supermarket, which has captured the bulk of wine sales.

An article in Drinks Business notes that this is just one of the conclusions drawn by Richard Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence, a consulting firm in the UK, that in London recently reported on a survey his firm did on distribution trends. It is a key observation that America’s progressive wine retailers will certainly be able to confirm, but also take note of and remember. The polarization of the wine retail market between large supermarkets/Big Box Stores and the smaller brick and mortar or Internet wine specialists has been occurring and is still occurring in the U.S. Marketplace.

This observation is one reason why the progressive, smaller retailer must continue to work to open up more out-of-state markets for their wine sales and shipping and also why larger specialty wine retailers need to do the same in order to address a growing market of savvy consumers whose interest in wine is growing and will certainly take them beyond the supermarket offerings eventually.

On this point, Halstead has something else to say about the U.S. wine retailing market:

“Because new consumers – the millennial generation – have come into the wine market and they are technologically savvy, retailers are making a human connection using technology.”

While the entire group of Millennial consumers may not yet be buying at the same rate as the bread and butter Boomer generation, Halstead is correct that when they do graduate to that level, they will be be consumers so comfortable with online shopping and research that any smaller or progressive wine retailer not looking to provide these future customers with an online invitation to buy are likely to wither away.

The article in Drinks Business deserves a close reading by any wine retailer looking to the future (and the present) to determine how they are going to grow their business in the face of a new and still developing modern marketplace as well as the evolving competition online and on the ground.

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