In Full Flow—Online Wine Sales on the Rise

Driven by consumer demand, it is becoming abundantly clear that e-commerce will continue to grow its share of total wine retail sales. According to Rabobank’s latest Wine Quarterly report, growth rates of online wine sales vary across markets, but they have one thing in common: By far, they consistently outpace growth in traditional retail. Online retailing is so important in many markets because of the interest it can generate from millennials—and it so happens that precisely this group forms an increasingly critical wine-drinking demographic.

photo of luxury wines

New channels = new opportunities

Although e-commerce channels continue to gain importance for wine marketing, they face various challenges in key markets. With the growth of e-commerce, online retailers (or e-tailers) are seeing a rapid increase in the number of competitors. To remain competitive, they're being forced to expand their offerings of products and services. And this creates marketing opportunities for wineries. 

The rising number of e-commerce platforms increases opportunities for wine marketers, but it also increases the difficulty of truly standing out in the market. Simply having a presence online is not enough. Brand owners need to invest time and marketing resources in order to achieve meaningful success in this channel. 

Making the most of online

Online channels will play an important part when it comes to long-term growth, but they must be managed as part of the broader brand development strategy in order to leverage opportunities and minimise conflict with other channels. While most wineries recognise the growing potential, the complexity of effectively growing online sales while minimising conflict with traditional channels can be daunting. Few wine marketers seem to be confident that they're making the most of this opportunity. Developing e-commerce know-how can be a struggle for wineries, but those that invest early in building these skills will be better-positioned for long-term growth. 

For wineries looking to effectively engage with online consumers, one of the most important components will be to effectively integrate the brand’s social media platforms into the overall online experience, according to Rabobank analyst Stephen Rannekliv.  “Consumers shopping online will also be referencing the brand in either positive or negative ways on social media. Brand owners can use social media to be part of those conversations to build their brands, and important tools are evolving to support this process.” 

Read the full details on the outlook for global and regional markets in the Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q4 2015. 

  • Stephen Rannekleiv

    Global Strategist - Beverages Read more
  • Marc Soccio

    Senior Analyst - Beverages Read more
  • Katharine Song

    Analyst - Beverages Read more

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