Posted: Jan 13, 2017
The impact of the digital age is also continuing to take effect on the drinks trade, with more and more consumers purchasing wine via digital devices (mobile/websites). Even a morphing of store and website (click & collect which is fast growing). When you have social, political and economic uncertainty, consumers will usually stick with products that they have tried and/or they are increasingly choosing propositions that emotionally connect with them. This is still a big opportunity for the drinks industry; looking at what we can learn from other product categories and really focusing on how our wonderful products present themselves and resonate with consumers.
We also need to recognise that digital media is bigger than TV. Social conversations start with digital devices so using social media to bring our products and propositions to life is going to be critical for success.
We can also foresee a distinct blurring of category boundaries, with more fusion-based drinks and blends between different classic categories. 20 years ago a drinker’s repertoire was smaller and therefore easier to understand, but the innovation in that time has increased not only choice, but also made people more adventurous.
WinePRO addresses this by seeking to understand more about the role of the wine and the drinking occasion and mapping those against the demographic profiles. People used to think very conventionally about wine, beer, cider and spirits as being very separate, whereas today’s consumer will choose different products due to their needs on any particular occasion. This is complicated further by the fusion of traditional drink categories in ready to drink formats.
We can expect to see a continuation of growth of “convenience formats” in the off-trade. Retailers are getting smarter at understanding shopper “convenience” missions and I expect to see more occasion based marketing/promo activity in 2017.
Wine including Prosecco will remain the largest drinks category in 2017, although the latter has begun to slow in its rapidly increasing growth. This slowing down is caused in part by the entry of more sparkling wines rather than any move away from bubbles. Consumers love fizz. Innovation in carbonation will be a major area of growth for 2017.
Beer may see further challenges in the coming year, but the rise of craft beers and ale will aid this struggle. Similarly, the craft element of the spirits category will continue to thrive in 2017.
It is reasonable to expect also that on trade will continue to grow – consumers still hold the experience of going out to eat and drink in high importance, even through turbulent times. We know that the segment we call ‘Generation Treaters’ make up 38% of the on-trade spend, so there’s huge scope for broadening the wine offer here. The standards in on-trades have increased significantly in the last year and will continue to do so.
By Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson is the marketing director at Kingsland Drinks Ltd one of the UK’s largest importers, bottlers, distributors and makers of wine.
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