US direct-to-consumer shipments rise 12%

Wines sold direct to US consumer grew 12% during 2018, according to a new report, despite increasing competition from other channels, as consumers increasingly switched from more traditional channels.

Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley (Photo: Wiki)

The latest Wine Analytics report from Wines Vines Analytics said there was a ‘dramatic’ increase in direct-to-consumer (Dtc) shipments, with customers now spending around $3billion on Dtc wines.

Furthermore Dtc shipments have risen 53% since 2015, as the channel matures, with the average price of a bottle also rising 2.4% to $39. 70 – except in Napa, where prices are said to have hit a plateau.

Although the growth came off a relatively small base, the report suggested consumers were increasingly shifting channels, as off-trade sales remained sluggish. However the sector also faced competition from wine clubs, home delivery of wine with meals or groceries, as well as online marketplaces and e-commerce platforms such as the ‘Amazon for liquor’, Drizly, it said.

According to the study as reported by Forbes.com, 80% of Dtc sales come from California, with the sunny state also being Dtc’s primary destination. There were more shipments from Sonoma than Napa for the first time, as Sonoma rose 19%, while sales from Oregon also out performed the market for the seventh year in a row. Volumes of Dtc wine also rose in Washington State, as the average price of a bottle fell.

Other notable figures included the rise in rose, up 24%, to make it the eighth most popular wine, but the top five wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Red Blends, Chardonnay and Zinfandel – accounted for more than 60% of the total volume.

The US report showed that around 409 million cases of wine were purchased in the US in 2018, worth around $70.5 billion – a rise of 5% by value, although volumes fell 1%.

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