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DTC Helps Lift US Wine Sales 6%

by Andrew Adams
August 19, 2021

 

Total winery direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipment value increased 18% to $181 million in July as total US wine sales for the past 12 months rose 6% to $50.6 billion. 

While DTC remains a small part of the total market, around 10% of total value, the continued dollar strength of the channel is helping the total market recover. According to market research firm bw166, total volume for all domestic wines also increased 2% to more than 311 million. 

The growing momentum behind reopening boosted the value of the total wine market in the U.S. by 7% to $73.8 billion in the 12 months ended July. Spending on domestic wines drove the increase thanks to the sheer volume of the segment but spending on packaged imports increased 11% to $23.1 billion. 

Although DTC shipment activity has reached its usual summer low point, the increase in value compared to July 2020 resulted in the average price of shipments rising 18% versus last year to $33.41 a bottle. This was the highest average bottle price for the month in the last five years, underscoring the shift from last year when average bottle prices fell versus previous periods in every month following the declaration of the pandemic.

DTC volume came to more than 451,000 cases, just about even with total volume in July 2020. Off-premise sales as tracked by NielsenIQ in July, totaled $822 million (down 8% versus last year) in value and 8.9 million cases (down 12%) in volume. 

The total market and DTC data are part of the Wine Industry Metrics reported each month in the Wine Analytics Report. The August edition of the digital report focuses on consumer sentiment in a fragmented and disrupted beverage alcohol market. 

Winery hiring also remains robust with the Winejobs.com’s Winery Job Index ending July at 649, up 96% versus a year ago. The index value is tied to the volume of job openings posted to winejobs.com.

Demand for DtC roles, including tasting room and retail staff, remained a dominant contributor to the index as activity pushed the category’s subindex to 1,051, up 171% from a year ago. However, the July’s strongest growth was for vineyard labor (up 280% versus a year ago to 543). Sales and marketing positions also saw strong demand, with the subindex rising 150% versus a year ago to 269. Winemaking and production roles indexed at 941 for the month, up 44% from a year ago to become the second most-important contributor to the index.

The Wine Analytics Report is a monthly, digital report on the U.S. wine industry produced by the editorial team at Wines Vines Analytics and based on information from proprietary databases and data supplied by partner research firms. The report and Wines Vines Analytics are part of the Wine Communications Group that also publishes Wine Business Monthly.


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