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September 2014 Data Released on 10.15.2014Flash Offers Drop in SeptemberThe flash market went relatively quiet during September, with the total number of offers for domestic wines falling against the same time during the previous year and compared to August. All of the major flash websites had fewer offers in September than in each of the three previous months. Last Call Wines averaged 100 offers per month during the summer before dropping to 40 offers in September.
Flash Reseller Offers » Month 12 Months September 2014 371 -34% 6,122 18% September 2013 559 5,173
Wines Vines Analytics had recorded an increase in offer activity every month of 2014 until September. Some of the increased activity came from special offer events. Three of the top flash websites held special Labor Day sales that took place during the last weekend of August and pushed the total offer count up to 601, or 38% more than in September.
Invino frequently accounts for the largest share of the total number of offers and some of the largest increases in the monthly total. In May, the website had 190 offers, which drove the total up to 610 offers, or 68% more than in May 2013, while April saw only a 4% increase over the previous year and Invino had 70 offers.
Page view activity
Flash websites, which sell wines at varying discounts for a limited time, originally became popular with consumers and wineries because of the recession. Consumers had the chance to buy well-known brands at a bargain, and wineries were able to clear out backed up inventory. Despite the improving economy, the flash channel has continued to stay active overall, and it appears the websites may have a found a niche in the direct-to-consumer market that continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
The durability of the discount websites can be seen in the level of wine offers as well as pageview numbers. Wines Vines Analytics uses pageview data collected by the digital marketing firm Compete.
Several of the major websites enjoyed an increase in their average pageviews in 2014 over 2013, and some saw a significant increase. Underground Cellar is a relative newcomer and not included in the above graph. The company, which is aiming to entice repeat buyers by offering a chance for a free "upgrade" to a better, more expensive wine with repeat purchases, launched its site in March and has seen its average monthly pageviews rise from more than 30,000 to nearly 100,000.
Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) more than doubled its pageviews, and the company’s marketing manager Jessica Elkin said she thought the increase could stem from the website being featured in Oprah Winfrey’s lifestyle magazine and because of the company's enhanced presence on social media through sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. She said the mobile version of wtso.com has also been growing immensely. "A couple things happened for us over the last couple of months that have been pretty big, and the word of mouth we continue to get is always growing faster than I ever think it is," she said. “I think we are just genuinely growing, and we have so many fantastic and happy members that they do a lot of the advertising for us.”
One of the original players in the flash market, Wine Spies, saw its web traffic increase by 150%. The company received a significant investment in 2013 from the Truett-Hurst wine company that also acquired a 50% stake of the website. Last Call Wines, Wine Woot and Invino all saw slightly lower pageview activity in 2014 compared to 2013, but those sites maintained a high level of offer activity this year.