Lower-alcohol wines could play a key role in stimulating the sluggish Swiss market, according to a Wine Intelligence report.
Although on a per-capita basis Switzerland remains one of the top five nations on earth for wine consumption, sales have fallen slightly in recent times. And Wine Intelligence research has detected some worrying trends that suggest growth is far from guaranteed in the immediate future.
The regular wine consumers questioned in the 2013 Vinitrac survey are, on the whole, slightly less interested in wine than they were in 2012. They are less likely to take risks and more likely to stick to wines they know, and a growing proportion of drinkers believe wine is an expensive beverage. Fewer say they are buying wine from specialist shops.
But there has been growth in lower-alcohol wine sales. In a country of 4.4 million regular wine drinkers, Wine Intelligence has found that 1.5 million can already be classed as lower-alcohol wine consumers, and another 720,000 classed as potential buyers.
The interest in the sector is largely spurred on by concerns about drinking and driving, and a desire to stay healthy and “in control”.
Wine Intelligence, in its 2013 Switzerland Landscape report, also suggests that sparkling wine represents an opportunity that is not fully tapped. The category, which is already experiencing modest growth, is led by Champagne and Prosecco.
The Swiss market as a whole is dominated by red wine and by domestic products. About three quarters of wine drinkers say they have consumed Swiss wine during the past six months.
Richard Halstead, chief operating officer of Wine Intelligence, says: “The Swiss wine market is one of many across the world which can be categorised as ‘established’. This means there is very little scope for major growth.
"But we’re far from pessimistic about Switzerland’s prospects. Its consumers are among the most eager wine drinkers on the planet, so if there’s a slight falling-away in enthusiasm, it doesn’t signal a crisis."
“However, consumer behaviour is never static in any market and we’re seeing a real surge in interest in lower-alcohol wines. These are appealing to a growing number of health-conscious consumers and it seems likely they will play an increasingly important role in the lives of Swiss wine drinkers."
Switzerland Wine Market Landscape 2013 is published by Wine Intelligence and available from the Wine Intelligence Reports Shop, priced at GBP 2500 / USD 4000 / EUR 3000 / AUD 4250 or 5 Report Credits.
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Wine Intelligence is the leading research-led strategy consultancy serving the global wine industry. It conducts client-specific research projects to aid companies to gain greater insights into wine markets and wine consumers, and helps business leaders develop business strategy and marketing plans. The company also assists businesses in developing new brands, and in formulating and communicating marketing messages within the industry.