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UK spends more on wine than the French

The UK has overtaken France for consumer spending on wine and consolidated its position as the world’s biggest wine importing market, reveals data from Vinexpo and IWSR. Moreover, wine drinkers in the UK are starting to trade up to more expensive wines costing more than £6 a bottle making it the second largest market in the world for wines at that price after the US.

The British are drinking more wine
The Vinexpo/IWSR figures report that 1.1% more wine was drunk in the UK in 2010 than in 2009: the total amount consumed in 2010 was 147.12 million 9-litre cases or 1.765 billion bottles. Wine consumption also increased by 5.5% between 2005 and 2009. According to forecasts in the Vinexpo/IWSR study of UK wine and spirits markets, this rate of consumption will increase by a further 2.9% between 2010 and 2014.

A price-stable UK market

  • For higher priced wines, the UK is the second largest consumer market worldwide, ahead of France but behind the USA, for wines priced at more than £6.15 per bottle
  • But the average price of a bottle of wine is stable at around £5.21p and is expected to remain at that level for the next five years.
  • UK is the largest wine-importing nation in terms of value and volume (refer figures above)
  • UK is the second largest market by value worldwide for still light wine sales (behind the US and ahead of France and Germany)
  • White wine is the UK’s favourite colour accounting for nearly 45% of wine consumption
  • Rosé is growing fast and the UK is now the fourth largest market for rosé wines; demand for rosé will continue to grow strongly
  • UK is the third largest consumer worldwide of whisky and cognac

Facts and figures: UK spending more than the French
Between 2005 – 2009, the total sales turnover for still light wines in the UK increased by 4.8%. From 2007 we began to spend more than the French. Last year, total sales reached £8.642 billion at rsp. The research also forecasts an increase of 1.1% growth in sales between 2010 – 2014.

Increased consumption of white, rosé and sparkling wines
Consumption of rosé wines almost doubled in the UK between 2005 – 2009 with growth of 93%. The UK is now the fourth largest rosé wine consumer market after France, the US and Germany, and consumption is forecast to rise by a further 11.5% between 2010 – 2014.

By contrast consumption of red wine dropped by 7.7% over the same period. White wine remains the nation’s favourite colour, accounting for 44% of total wine consumption in 2010. The UK is showing a growing fondness for fizz with consumption rising 16.1% from 2005 to 2009. The increase will continue over the next five years showing a 12% rise to 2014.

Vodka is top spirit… Scotch and cognac losing ground
UK consumption of spirits increased by 6.1% between 2005 and 2009, reaching 29.58 million cases with a predicted increase of a further 4.6% between 2010 – 2014.

Vodka came out top with consumption of 8.43 million cases in 2010, a growth of nearly 20% since 2005 with consumption expected to grow by a further 6.7% between 2010 – 2014.

The consumption of bourbon also shot up with 25% growth over the five-year period from 2005 – 2009 and will continue to increase at the same pace (22.1%) between 2010 – 2014.

Tequila consumption also grew significantly, up 33.3% between 2005 – 2009.

Despite the UK being the world’s third largest consumer of cognac and Scotch whisky, between 2005 – 2009 consumption decreased by 13.2% and 10.8% respectively. The report predicts that between 2010 – 2014 whisky consumption will stabilise at current levels while cognac will continue to fall over the same period, down to 8%.





1 January 2011 - Felicity Murray