US wine lovers yet to embrace online

While using the internet to seek out information about wine has surged over the last four years, only 11% of American wine drinkers have bought wine online this year.

A recent study by Wine Intelligence found that just 11% of US wine lovers surveyed had used the internet to buy wine in the first six months of this year.

The study found that 58.5 million regular wine drinkers in the US used the net for wine research and 30 million had made online recommendations on forums, but less than 10 million actually bought wine online.

One in three of those surveyed use the net to look up information about prices, while 38% use social media to stay up to date with discounts and promotions.

The findings suggest that a large majority of American wine lovers are yet to put their faith in the internet as a secure, convenient and exciting arena for wine retail.

The study also found a lack of trust online, with just 30% of consumers surveyed trusting posts on social media sites against 83% for advice from friends, family or colleagues, and 76% for wine shops.

“The number of regular wine drinkers buying online in the US has risen to 11% but there is clearly an opportunity for those involved in ecommerce to make a bigger noise in the market,” said Richard Halstead, Wine Intelligence’s CEO.

“The use of social media to find out about all aspects of wine has increased rapidly and there’s little reason to believe that it will slow down.

“It might not be too long before blogs, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are taking over from more traditional sources such as books and magazines as the main sources of information for potential shoppers,” he added.

8 Responses to “US wine lovers yet to embrace online”

  1. Peter Arnold says:

    Wow, at least Americans have that option. If you live in Ontario, Canada, there’s no choice. The government has a near monopoly on wine sales, and online purchasing is non-existent.

    • Keith says:

      Actually consumers have very little choice when ordering wine on the web; especially from small independent wineries across the country. In most places it is simply not legal or the licensing is so expensive that it is not practical.

  2. Jonathan Cahill says:

    This is rather misleading as it deals in absolute numbers. There’s no way the survey can have been of the whole population. It would be much more transparent if it talked in terms of the percentage of those interviewed who behaved in this way. On this it would also help to give some credibility to the result if the sample size was always quoted. Sometimes the surveys done by this company are not particularly robust.

  3. David Boyer says:

    The problem with ordering wine online in America is the country’s convoluted alcohol laws that restrict shipments. This is leftover from Prohibition days when mafia-types of organizations controlled the flow and distribution of alcoholic beverages and unfortunately, it’s not very much different today. Distributors have consolidated into three or four very powerful companies and have the muscle to pay politicians to vote against state-to-state retail shipments and in some cases, even in-state shipments. Everyone is trying to hold on to their turf and the US consumer is the loser in this proposition. This will not change until America wakes up to the huge amount of corruption and unfair practices being perpetrated on it by scrofulous characters in the distribution business and the offices of government.

    If this matter is ever resolved here in the states, internet sales of wine will skyrocket and it will be a huge win for the consumer.

    David Boyer

  4. B. Douglass says:

    Two main problems with online alcohol purchase: (1) prohibitively high shipping costs and (2) having to be home to sign for the package. It has nothing to do with trust. I buy scotch online regularly because I simply can’t find the product in B&M stores (making the shipping worth the pain). Online wine isn’t worth the extra cost/effort unless you are collecting or want a specific bottle that you can’t find locally.

  5. Carla says:

    Having to be home to sign for the package isn’t feasible for many people. Also, when I think of ordering wine online, I have visions of it being jostled and manhandled in transit, which is very unappealing.

  6. Liam Young says:

    This is a curious article. I read great things in the fact that online ALREADY accounts for 11% of market, despite not really being a viable option like books or nearly every other consumable products, but I also read that there’s incredible opportunity lying ahead for all of us once regulators get with it.

    I think the makers of junk product are quaking in their boots every time data like this becomes public because it proves that consumers are willing to go out of their way to get good products.

  7. Diana Combs says:

    The most popular way for Americans to buy wine is still at a retail store, especially after a free tasting or through a wine club. Importers / sales representatives will give tastings at wine stores regularly, and this is an easy way to learn if we like a wine immediately. Others join their local store’s wine club to learn about wines they wouldn’t otherwise try. Online sales for wine would not be popular because you can’t return the wine. We need to know for sure that we are going to like the wine. Even then, we order from a local store for delivery. Or a favorite winery. It is never as arbitrary as ordering from an anonymous website.

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