Wine still favourite as UK consumers tighten their belts

Wine remains the most popular choice of drink in the UK but consumers are still most likely to cut back on going out to eat or drink in order to save money, according to a poll published by the UK Wine & Spirits Trade Association prior to this year’s London International Wine Fair.

The Populus poll of over 2,000 adults in the UK found that 38 per cent of the public drink wine on a weekly basis, compared to 32 per cent for beer. What’s more 81 per cent of drinkers had tried wine ahead of beer (71 per cent) and spirits (72 per cent).

But the survey also found that the economic crisis has had an impact on consumer spending habits with 77 per cent saying they’ve made cutbacks over the past few years.

With 80 per cent of respondents saying they’ve seen alcohol costs rise in the past two years, activities such as eating out (79 per cent) and going to the pub (59 per cent) comprised two areas where consumers had cutback already.  With less cash available 72 per cent said they would spend less on eating out, 69 per cent said they would spend less on going to a pub or bar.

Generally, consumers still had concerns about the state of the economy with nearly half of respondents (49 per cent) predicting that the economy will worsen over the next year. Only 15 per cent expect to see an improvement.

However, despite the tough economic climate, the study also showed that the most important factor for consumers when choosing wine was whether they knew or liked it. 67 per cent regarded this as the most important factor when choosing a wine, slightly ahead of it being on special offer (64 per cent).

“Wine continues to be the most popular choice amongst drinkers but the tough economic times continue to have a real impact on consumer spending,” commented Gavin Partington, Interim Chief Executive of the WSTA, “While price and promotion remain important factors in determining what people buy, it’s interesting that a greater number say it’s more important to have a wine they know they like.

“This suggests the industry has a challenge to persuade consumers to be more adventurous and try something different.”


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free