E-commerce and the wine

In these times of seclusion, online shopping has skyrocketed. According to a McKinsey’s survey in April 2020, there was a significant growth in online shopping in general: in Brazil, more than 1/3 of consumers declare that they are buying online more frequently and, after quarantine, they will reduce visits to physical stores and continue shopping on the internet.

In this online universe, one of the sectors that has improved and has been increasing its numbers is that of alcoholic beverages. In recent years, Brazil has stood out in this market, mainly in wine sales. Our country is already the third-largest market in terms of the development of wine e-commerce, used by 28% of regular wine consumers, after only China and the United Kingdom, according to a survey by Wine Intelligence. With the confinement, this segment gained greater strength.

Also, with people at home, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants closed, and the convenience of online services, wine consumption in this quarantine has also increased. “Many categories of alcoholic beverages, mainly beer and spirits, are strongly associated with social consumption occasions, such as a music concert, a weekend barbecue, and the parties of young people. Following the same pattern, the consumption of sparkling wine has been affected by the decrease in celebrations and social events. However, the same is not true for wine, which, I dare say, is the drink that best matches the occasions of consumption at home.” explains Rodrigo Lanari, executive director of Winext.

Over time, wine is being consumed at home on several different occasions. “Wine is no longer consumed only on family dinners, but in other moments as well, such as an online meeting with friends, watching a TV series, or as a relaxing moment during or at the end of the day. In other words, there was a growth mainly among consumers with greater involvement with the product” comments Rodrigo.

But this increase is easy to understand: the convenience of choosing your favorite label quickly on a website or mobile application with delivery in the comfort of your home and the attractive price, justify it. Also, online operations have greatly improved their logistics and now it is possible to receive the product in less than two hours at the desired address. “This was not even imagined a few years ago, which brings confidence to consumers who previously did not buy online for fear of fraud or not receiving the product. It is a path of no return” says Lanari.

This phenomenon happened worldwide. For example, in comparison with 2019, American e-commerce Wine.com reported triple sales until March 15th, while in Italy the Vivino app broke the Black Friday sales record, according to data published by the Winext Blog. In Brazil, Wine.com reports that the acquisition of new customers in June this year was 146% higher compared to the same period in 2019. The forecast is to reach the end of 2020 with a turnover of 400 million reais (Approached USD 80mi). According to Rodrigo Pimentel, e-commerce director at Grupo Pão de Açucar (GPA), customers who bought one bottle per month started to buy two during the pandemic, whoever bought three per month, started to take four. “The demand for fine wines also grew, with prices above R$ 100 per bottle” adds Pimentel.

The variety of labels in the portfolio is also a very important factor for online business. Undoubtedly, fairs such as ProWine play an important role in strengthening contact between producers and the trade, facilitating the introduction of new products in e-commerce websites. “We will certainly return to attend face-to-face events to network and seek new business opportunities.” says Lanari. The conclusion we can reach is that the pandemic contributed to the digitalization of companies in the sector and accelerated their e-commerce. The growth in the number of new online consumers indicates that even if there is a retraction in online purchases immediately after the pandemic – due to the stocks that consumers have accumulated at home – the level reached by e-commerce will not go back to what we had previously.

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