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7 Customer Habits that will Change DtC Wine Sales in 2020

October 21, 2019

For wineries looking to grow their DtC wine sales, understanding the trends surrounding customer habits, food and wine consumption and hospitality in general is crucial. After all, without understanding them, how can you hope to sell your product in a way that matches what people are looking for? 

From a change in where people are drinking to a growing interest in everything organic, here are 7 habits that we think will continue to change DtC wine sales in 2020.

1. People are drinking more at home

The long held tradition of Friday night drinks is changing. In 2018, 55% of Americans reported they preferred drinking at home. This is even more pronounced with millennials in particular who report staying in to drink as it is more relaxing, cheaper and also helps them control their alcohol intake.

What does this mean: While previously relying on wine lists at restaurants and bars, wineries need to find new ways to reach potential customers. Focusing on word of mouth marketing and social media may be the key to capturing this new audience discovering your wine on a friend’s couch.

2. People are cooking more at home (or at least ordering in)

Australians continue to enjoy cooking at home, with nearly 75% of people preparing 5 or more of their 7 dinners at home. With the continuing success of shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, the Australian appetite has also expanded with the introduction of meal subscription services like Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon. 

But where are we consuming those other two meals? There’s a good chance that we’ve ordered it in via offerings like UberEats & Deliveroo.

What does this mean: With food playing such an important part of our lives, wineries have an excellent opportunity to educate people on food and wine pairings. We’ve even seen some incredible success with wineries sending recipes along with online orders to guarantee themselves a place on dining room tables.

3. People’s drinking habits are changing

There are several important factors here. Firstly, as a country, we are drinking less and this has caused a rise in the demand for non-alcoholic beverages. From alcohol free beer to the expansion of mocktails, more and more customers are making the choice not to drink or cutting the amount they drink.

However, the sale of wine remains relatively constant and is still the second most popular drink across Australia. It's not all good news though. The sale of spirits and cocktails has risen dramatically, meaning the competition for the shrinking alcohol dollar remains fierce.

What does this mean: Wineries continue to face increasing competition in this space. They may need to find a way to appeal to consumers who are looking for the Instagram friendly appearance of cocktails while promoting themselves as the alcohol of choice for customers who are enjoying less overall. 

4. People are buying more expensive drinks

It’s not all doom and gloom however. While the amount we drink on a weekly basis is lower, the amount Australians spend on alcohol is actually up.

This is due to the increasing premiumisation of our choices. Whether it is a more expensive bottle of wine, a single malt scotch or a boutique gin, Australians are spending more on quality alcohol than they have in previous years.

What does this mean: This is the perfect opportunity to not sell your wine by price. Consumers will purchase a product they see the value in, so focus on why your wine tastes so good instead of its dollar value.

5. Social Media Influence

Studies have shown that 31% of social media users are actively browsing in search of new products to buy and that 81% of all online purchases are in fact influenced by social media. This represents a great opportunity for wineries to reach potential customers who are in the market to purchase but even more importantly, they may be able to reach friends of existing customers who are already aware of their brand. 

What does this mean: This one should be obvious. If you’re not active on social media, it is worth starting. You should also take the time to encourage user-generated content. By encouraging customers to take a picture with your wine and post it on social media, you can tap into this powerful circle of influence. 

6. Fine Dining Goes Casual

When Australians do go out to eat, the locations has changed. With the memory of the long lunch fading fast, there has been a distinct movement away from a traditional fine dining setting. Instead, restaurants are becoming increasingly casual in design and also focusing on more of a quick service environment. In contrast, fast food restaurants are becoming gourmet, creating a new market that’s set to grow fast.

What this means: For wineries looking for brand exposure via bars and restaurants, it may be worth exploring this new market instead of relying on traditional fine dining. 

7. Organic Wine is In

Across the board, consumers care about what they are putting into their body. Like there has been a movement towards healthy, organic and locally sourced food, people are also reaching for organic wine at higher rates than ever before. Interestingly, this is not simply a younger consumer or more high end purchasers, with even large businesses like BWS reporting its sales of organic wine have doubled in 12 months.

What this means: Not all wineries can produce organic wine or even afford the certification for it, but if you have been considering it, now might be the time to act as this trend is unlikely to go away any time soon.

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