Consumers’ Willingness to Trade Up in Wine Is Weaker than in Beer or Spirits

STAMFORD, CT—January 24, 2013

A recent survey of alcohol consumer behaviors in the United States among people who consume any type of alcoholic beverage at least once a week showed that the wine category suffers from weaker willingness to trade-up to premium brands than the beer category or various segments of the spirits category.

Only 30% of wine drinkers say they like to treat themselves to higher-quality brands, compared to 38% of beer drinkers who like to treat themselves.  Willingness to trade-up is much higher among spirits drinkers, with 80% of vodka drinkers saying they like to treat themselves and 87% of whiskey drinkers saying this.  Wine and beer drinkers are not as convinced that higher-priced brands are higher-quality: only 28% of wine drinkers think that higher-priced brands of wine are usually better and 26% of beer drinkers believe this about beer. This belief that higher prices signify higher quality is much stronger among spirits drinkers, as 82% of vodka drinkers believe this about vodka and 87% of whiskey drinkers believe this about whiskey.

Even more affluent wine drinkers aren’t a great deal more disposed to trade up.  Only 33% of wine drinkers with household income of $100K+ say they like to treat themselves to higher-quality brands, compared to 43% of beer drinkers with $100K+ income, 94% of vodka drinkers with $100K+ income, and 93% of whiskey drinkers with $100K+ income.

What wine drinkers do like is trying new brands—41% say they love trying new brands of wine and 31% of them are open to trying new brands that are less expensive.

“Wine drinkers are more skeptical that higher prices are a harbinger of higher-quality and are not as pre-disposed to trading up as spirits drinkers or beer drinkers,” said David Decker, President, Consumer Edge Insight.  “This will make it more difficult for the wine industry to take price increases and to follow the spirits companies’ strategy of migrating consumers to more premium-priced brands.  Premium wine brands need to do a better job making the case to wine drinkers why they cost more.”

About Alcoholic Beverage Demand Tracker

Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker provides an in-depth analysis of the key economic and attitudinal factors impacting alcoholic beverage demand. Data for the most recent Alcoholic Beverage DemandTracker was collected in June via an online survey of over 2,000 US consumers, age 21 and over, designed and weighted to be representative of the US adult alcohol-drinking population. Some of the topics addressed include drivers of change in alcohol category consumption, the impact of economic factors and secular trends on overall alcohol consumption and by category, channel behaviors, ways to increase category consumption, and numerous brand metrics. The research covers the beer, spirits, wine, cider, and flavored-malt beverage categories including the largest brands in each category.

To learn more, call David Decker at +1 (203) 504-7558 or use our contact form to request more information.

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