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U.S. Beats Imports in Table Wine Growth

Imports rise faster among sparkling wines, led by Italy's Prosecco

by Jim Gordon & Andrew Adams
wine industry metrics
San Rafael, Calif.—Growth in off-premise sales of domestic table outpaced the growth of imports, and other key wine industry metrics remained positive through June.

Strong domestic wine sales numbers are one of the highlights of WinesVinesDATA’s regular industry metrics report released today. Hiring activity in the wine industry also stayed strong, and direct-to-consumer sales rose in June, which typically is a slow month for the sales channel.

One arena seeing some contraction is the flash segment. Flash retailers are offering less wine, and web traffic appears to have declined or stayed flat for all of the major flash websites. 

More comprehensive sales data
According to the latest data from IRI, domestic wines grew by 7% in value during the past 52 weeks and totaled $6.7 billion, while imports rose by 2% and totaled $1.7 billion. Domestic wines accounted for 80% of sales in the off-premise locations where IRI analyzes scan data.

WinesVinesDATA is now drawing from a wider base of data from IRI, the Chicago, Ill.-based market research firm, covering about 45% of all U.S. off-premise sales for table wine and sparkling wine. The data incorporates IRI’s more inclusive multi-outlet and convenience store tracking, which includes food and drug stores, dollar stores, warehouse clubs, Target and Walmart. Wines & Vines continues to focus its analysis on sales of domestic wine.

U.S. wine hottest in $20 plus
Consumers bought more U.S. wines in eight of nine price/package-type categories. The hottest segments were $20-plus bottles (up 18%) and premium box wines (up 24%). The biggest sales category was one of the least expensive, $5-$7.99, accounting for $1.6 billion. It grew slower than the average, but the next two higher priced segments both surpassed 11% growth.

Sales of sparkling wines showed a counter trend. Domestic bubbly grew by 8% and held 57% of the market at an average of $8.33 per bottle, while sparkling imports increased by 11% and captured a 43% share in spite of a $4 higher average price. Italian sparkling wines led the import growth, rising by 14% overall and by 47% for Prosecco.

French sparklers including Champagne were the next largest import category and grew by 3% in sales, while customers paid an average bottle price $4 higher than a year ago. Among domestic sparklers, blush/rosé types had the fastest growth rate at 25%.

Tastes in still wines continued to favor Chardonnay as the No. 1 varietal with $1.7 billion in sales and 4% growth. Cabernet Sauvignon garnered $1.3 billion and grew 7%. Pinot Grigio/Gris with $706 million and 12% growth knocked Merlot out of third place as Merlot shrank by 2%. Red blends/Meritage and Sauvignon Blanc increased even faster than Pinot Grigio.

Hiring, DtC sales strong
Winery hiring activity increased 14% in June compared to June 2012. The index had soared to record highs in the past three months, and June’s increase actually represents a cooling in recent hiring activity. Sales and marketing still led all hiring activity with a 30% increase in June.

After a sharp rise of 17% in May, DtC sales stayed strong in June with a 11% increase over 2012. Volume in June also grew by 9%, and the total value of DtC sales in the past 12 months rose to $1.5 billion, which is 12% higher than last year.

Napa Valley wines continue to lead DtC sales by value average $53 per bottle in the past 12 months. Wines from Oregon ($38) and Washington ($36), however, have average prices that are higher than Sonoma County and the rest of California including the Central Coast.

Flash activity weaker
The total number of flash offers for domestic wines continues to fall with total offers in June coming in 21% less than in June 2012.

The total number of page views for the major flash websites declined from December to May. WinesVinesDATA receives page view numbers from the web data firm Compete. Wine Woot, a subsidiary of Amazon and part of the greater Woot retail site, attracted nearly 750,000 page views in December 2012 making it the most-visited flash site by far. Yet by May 2013, Wine Woot’s total views had shrunk to 216,000, slightly less than WTSO’s total of 222,000.

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Wine Industry Metrics
Off-Premise Sales
IRI Channels »
Month   12 Months  
October 2015 $604 million
$8,267 million
October 2014 $572 million $7,790 million
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2015 $288 million
$1,919 million
October 2014 $284 million $1,751 million
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2015 179
October 2014 139 226
MORE » Released on 11.13.2015


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