How The Wine Market Is Holding Up In The Times Of Coronavirus

Posted: Apr 22, 2020

The last month has been a roller coaster for wine sales. Retail sales have been exploding while restaurants are barely doing business by offering a little takeout: sometimes with wine to go.

Nielsen has classically tracked only off-premise data, but is collaborating with a number of major wholesalers and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America to produce data about the market at large.

So I posed a couple of questions for Danny Brager, the company’s Southern California-based senior vice president of Nielsen's Beverage Alcohol Practice in the United States.

All answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Liza B. Zimmerman (L.B.Z.): How is the coronavirus affecting the wine market overall thus far?

Danny Brager (D.B.): For the latest five-week time frame during which COVID-19 has heavily impacted consumer behavior [from the week ending 3/7/20 through the week ending 4/4/20], U.S., off-premise wine dollar sales in aggregate across Nielsen measured channels are +31 percent.

There is a tremendous amount of channel shifting: from on-premise to off premise, tasting rooms to direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping, more frequent shopping to less frequent shopping with larger basket sizes and combinations of these shifts.

On the last point, for the four weeks ending March 28, 2020—compared to the same four-week period in 2019—there were 12 percent more households purchasing wine off-premise, and dollar spend of wine per buyer was +15 percent.

By Liza B. Zimmerman
April 21, 2020
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