France is the world’s second largest wine consuming country, after the United States and ahead of Italy, drinking more than 3.5 billion bottles in 2019. In the past fifty years, however, French wine consumption has structurally declined by 50%, due to the fact that wine has become a cultural product consumed on a more occasional basis. Despite this, it is still France’s favourite beverage alcohol. The tenth Sowine*/Dynata 2021 barometer offers some insight into current consumer trends, with some interesting takeaways.
- The French and wine
- The French and organic wine
- The French and digital technologies
- The French and the no-low trend
The French and wine
The latest Sowine/Dynata 2021 barometer shows that the French are increasingly interested in the world of wine – two out of three say they are interested, and one in two claim to be wine connoisseurs. Also, the share of non-consumers is decreasing slightly (11%, down 5 points), whilst the number of regular drinkers, who consume wine once or several times a week, has reached 50%, compared to 36% in 2019. For the wine industry, this is good news considering figures published by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), which show that French wine consumption has slipped from 100 litres per capita (aged 15+) a year in 1975 to 49.5 litres in 2019 (OIV, 2020).
The French and organic wine
Organic wine has become part of French drinking patterns and is constantly recruiting a wider audience. This significant trend is even more tangible among the under 25s, nearly 71% of whom check whether a bottle of wine is organic at point of sale; this percentage rises to 85% for connoisseurs. Conversely, the proportion of French people who never buy organic wine is down by 21%. According to Sowine, “this proportion is down by 13 points compared to 2019”.
The French and digital technologies
In 2020, digital technologies became the focal point for digital-enabled citizens in lockdown. In the wine industry, the barometer shows that online shopping boomed, with the share of buyers increasing from 31% in 2019 to 46% in 2020. Also, 69% of online shoppers spend more than average on their online purchases, in excess of €10 per bottle. 30% of those who bought wine online did so mainly to discover new labels, 23% to buy wine for everyday drinking and 17% to support producers. Surprisingly, 29% of the French who usually buy wine online did not do so during lockdown.
Locked down maybe, but also informed, is trend that emerges among respondents. Many consumers use digital sources of information to make their purchasing decisions. Websites (38%) and social media (37%) are prioritised as those sources, with 28% of people questioned following wine and spirits influencers. Over one in two French followers attach particular importance to the advice that influencers can give them. Similarly, half of regular wine buyers (who buy wine once or several times a week) say they have already bought a wine that was recommended to them on social media.
The French and the no-low trend
One area of development the wine industry has been closely scrutinising is the no-low trend favouring non-alcoholic or low-alcohol wines. According to the Barometer, 27% of French people say they drink them, with the trend particularly relevant to 18-25 year olds – 40% of this age group say they drink them, compared to 14% of 50-65 year olds. Among the main motivations cited by consumers are a desire to look after their health (41%), and reduce their alcohol consumption (41%), the flavour (35%) and the low calorie content (30%).
*For the past 10 years, Sowine has been scrutinising French consumption trends in the world of wine. The latest survey conducted by Dynata for the marketing and communications consultancy was carried out in December 2020 among 1,005 people representative of the French population aged between 18 and 65.