Since 2017, global wine consumption has been following a downward trend, according to insight into factors of competitiveness in the international wine market published by FranceAgriMer. In 2022, wine is still the preferred alcoholic drink of choice for 45% of women in France. Conversely, this year for the first time, 59% of men chose beer, according to the latest Sowine*/Dynata barometer. What are the emerging drinking patterns in France? An overview of 2022 trends reveals that consumers are increasingly connected and open to new styles.
- Why are consumers increasingly connected?
- Is the no/low category still on-trend?
- Are consumers prepared to pay more for a green endorsement?
Why are consumers increasingly connected?
In 2021, digital technology was a core part of life for connected consumers in lockdown. Online shopping boomed, with 46% of the French selecting their wines online. In 2022, this percentage has dropped to 41%, concurrently with the reopening of wine bars and restaurants, among other factors. But the signal remains strong. Online wine buying habits are becoming entrenched, particularly among 18-25 year-olds (55%), 26-35 year-olds (53%) and wine connoisseurs/experts – a quarter of them are major online wine buyers (+3 points). As Sowine/Dynata research points out, “Supermarket websites lead the way with 33% of online wine buyers (+5 points), but producer websites (30%) and wine merchants (25%) are challenging their leadership”.
So what is the average spend? One third of online wine buyers have an average basket spend ranging from 31 to 50 euros. Half of buyers (48%) have between 3 and 6 bottles in their basket, rising to 7 to 12 bottles for 23% of shoppers.
In terms of social media, Instagram has become the platform with the highest engagement in the wine and spirits sector: 32% of its users follow estates, chateaux, brands or wine producers there. Interestingly, the number of French consumers following influencer accounts or having bought a wine recommended by an influencer has dropped to 23% (- 5 points). The trend remains stronger among younger generations, however: 39% for the 18-25s and 35% for the 26-35s. According to the 2022 SOWINE/DYNATA barometer, the change can be ascribed to the growing proficiency among French consumers who are taking a greater interest in wines and spirits and are keen to discover new artisanal winegrowers and techniques by themselves. Their interest is also stoked by a desire to know more about the products they eat and drink. One major wine buyer in two buys a wine recommended on the social media they follow (-3 points), a percentage which rises to 66% for major online wine buyers (= 2021).
Is the no/low category still on-trend?
The no-low category, containing alcohol-free and low alcohol wines, continues to attract attention from the wine industry because the trend is increasingly gaining traction. According to the barometer, 29% of the French (+ 2 points since 2021) now drink them. The category is seen to be more relevant by 18-25 year-olds, because 44% state they drink them, compared with just 10% of 50-65 year-olds. What are the factors behind the trend? Consumers are aiming to rein in their alcohol consumption (40%), pay greater attention to their health (38%), like the flavour (33%) and are attracted by the lower calorie count (20%).
Are consumers prepared to pay more for a green endorsement?
53% of French wine buyers now spend time at point of purchase looking to see if a bottle displays an environmental certification. Recognised environmental endorsements are organic (or AB) for 85% of buyers and Vignerons Engagés (36%), followed by High Environmental Value or HVE (29%) and Terra Vitis (26%).
Also, 53% claim they are prepared to pay more if a wine displays an environmental endorsement. The percentage is even higher among 18-35 year-olds (66%) and major wine buyers (69%).
Despite this, the price remains the leading barrier to purchasing a wine with an environmental endorsement for 44% of respondents, followed by lack of awareness of the trust marks for 32%. 15% of the French do not relate to trust marks and environmental certifications.
*For the past 11 years, Sowine has monitored French consumer patterns for wine. The latest survey by Dynata for the marketing and communications agency was conducted in December 2021 among 1,015 representative French people aged between 18 and 65.