UK to remain top wine importer, despite projected slump
Still wine sales in the UK are set to decline for another five years, as consumers scale back on consumption but trade up to more expensive bottles, according to Vinexpo.
Research it commissioned from IWSR predicts that consumption will fall by 4.7% by 2016 to119.4 million 9L cases. That means 60 million fewer bottles will be sold in five years time than in 2012 and translates as a drop in annual consumption from 24.3 litres to 23 litres. The forecast follows a 4.5% decline in the last five years.
The sharpest decline would be in sales between $5 (£3.20) and $10 (£6.40), Vinexpo said. While still accounting for the majority of sales in the UK, bottles in that price bracket will fall 13.5% to 88.9 million cases while wines over $10 will rise 13.8% to sell 30.5 million cases by 2016.
"The consumer prefers to drink a little bit less but pay a little bit more - it's a question of value," said Vinexpo CEO Robert Beynat.
Vinexpo also forecast that Britain will become the largest importer of sparkling wine by 2016, knocking Germany off the top spot. It predicts sparkling wine consumption will increase by 10% to 10.6 million cases over the next five years. While a tiny part of the UK market, the consumption of English sparkling wine will increase by 342% to 480,000 cases.
Globally still wine consumption will rise by 6.7% in value to 2.6 billion cases, and 8.1% in value to $153.1 billion (£97.9 billion). Countries set to increase consumption include the world's largest market, the US, Germany, China and the Russsian Federation.
The UK will, however, remain the biggest retail market for imported still wine by value. While exports will fall in value to £7.9 billion in 2016, the UK imported wine market will be 50% bigger than second-place US, which will grow to £5.3 billion.
"The fact remains that the UK is still the world's biggest importer of wine and therefore a major force in world wine busines. It is the ambition of many world wine-makers to gain a foothold in the UK," Beynat added
Chinese wine production is also expected to rise - by 62% in volume over the next five years - which would put it ahead of Australia and Chile as those countries reduce production.
However China has a long way to catch up with Europe in the per capita consumption stakes. The average French adult consumed an averagae of 50 litres in 2011, compared to 1.6 litres in China and 25.2 litres in the UK.