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India may follow UK Retail Wine Buying Pattern

Posted: Tuesday, 15 April 2014 17:39

India may follow UK Retail Wine Buying Pattern

Apr 15: Many people may challenge the recent UK study by Cobevco, a specialist contract bottling company in Cheshire, claiming that the perfect wine voted for the UK consumers would be available in supermarkets, red, screw-capped, Australian and cost under £6 according to 70% of those surveyed, but it could be indicative of the retail wine market in India once the FDI in retail is operational and the big retailers start retailing wines

The new research conducted to analyze the characteristics of the British beverage-buying habits, reveals that though European wine from countries like France, Spain and Italy remained their favourites, New World wines, especially those from Australia were much ahead in their popularity, with 1 in 5 indicating preference for wines from Australia. They also preferred wines available at discounted prices or as part of some multi-buy promotion. The media reports also suggest that the bottles of preference would have a screw cap.

British wine drinkers would also like their beverage available at the supermarket and by a popular, known brand. This would suggest that the private labels created by the various chains like Tesco find a lower spot in the customer preference, a point that might be debated by these supermarkets. The shoppers are prepared to spend an average of £5.83 for a bottle, with 70% of those surveyed not willing to spend more than £6. 

One characteristic of the UK buyers which is not possible in the current scenario in Delhi but enjoyable in Gurgaon and several other cities like Mumbai, is that the Brits also are much more likely to buy a wine if it's on offer or discounts-more than half of respondents stated that getting a bargain was the main motivator for the purchase making decision. Almost 50% buyers choose a particular wine because it's a brand they've heard about or a grape variety they have tried before and liked. In any case, 76 % of the respondents said they preferred drinking at home rather than in a pub or a bar.

Interestingly, almost 80 per cent of respondents buy their wines exclusively at the supermarket, preferring the convenience of having everything under one roof, rather than buying at a specialty shop where they might benefit from the specialist knowledge of wine merchants. It may not be surprising that about a third of those surveyed claim to be ‘knowledgeable' and ‘adventurous' when it comes to wine. In a similar survey carried out about a couple of years ago, the Brits were found to order the second cheapest bottle in a restaurant, thus not overspending and still maintaining their claim of being knowledgeable.

There are several similarities between the buying habits of UK buyers who take wine as a daily drink of choice and with food, and the Indian buyers who have not yet taken to drinking wine on a regular basis. It is a moot point whether the foreign retailers would keep the interests of the farmers as apprehended by BJP, the political party currently seen as leading the race in the general elections, but it is fairly certain that when these Retail stores come in existence and have license to sell wine, they will price the imported wines at less than Rs.900-1000, the equivalent of what the majority of Brits expect to pay for their wines. Similarly, the Indian premium wines can well be expected to be priced under Rs. 350-400 a bottle- a level seen as desirable to increase the wine consumption manifold for the middle classes.

It continues to be surprising that unlike in India, Rosé continues to be extremely popular, with around a fifth of the total consumption being the pink. Red wine is consumed more than white like in India where the temperature is hotter and the health reason is stronger. But it beats out the white wine more closely with about 40 % preferring a glass of red while 35% prefer white.  

Subhash Arora  

Tags: Cobevco, Australia, Tesco, UK


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