Wine, the online sales business explodes: shares tripled

It is one of the trends that have taken root the most in recent years: buy wine online in an environment dedicated to the culture of wine and with the proposal of many labels. It does not matter if the chosen bottle will be used for a glass drunk with friends or if it is meant for an important gift, online wine shopping is one of the most rampant new habits. The pandemic has certainly given a boost to the phenomenon, but the momentum has not stopped and it still has a lot of room for growth ahead of it. In this context, the Italian portals specialized in wine are undergoing strong development and are also beginning to expand abroad.

In a few years the market shares have tripled. “Globally, e-commerce accounts for 4% in wine sales (it was 2% in 2018) and it is estimated that it can reach 6% by 2025”. This is what emerges from the “Survey on the national wine sector” of the Mediobanca Research Area.

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In our country, the online wine sales market is well represented by many specialized sites that have established themselves over the years and catalyze the preferences of wine lovers. «If we exclude the on-line sales that pass through the company sites and those of the large-scale retail trade, over 90% of wine e-commerce is intercepted by specialized platforms (pure players) that present a wide range of labels – analyzes Mediobanca -. Still a minority (the remaining 3%) is the use of generic platforms (for example, Amazon) for the purchase of wine ».

In any case, the development of online wine sales, which accelerated following the 2020 lockdown, clearly emerges from the analysis of the 2018-2020 turnover of the main national pure players.

The ranking is led by Tannic which in 2020 recorded revenues of € 37.1 million, up 83% on 2019. Two companies follow with triple-digit increases: Vino.comwhich exceeded 30 million euros in turnover with a jump of + 218.7% on 2019, and Bernabei, with revenues of € 25.9 million, an increase of 160.4%. The turnover of Callmewine (12.4 million), an increase of 93.3%.

The same growth trend has affected XtraWine which, doubling its turnover compared to the previous year, exceeded 7 million euros e Winelivery which is close to the same amount after a growth of 491.6%. “2020 was a year of strong development even for smaller companies, some of which were born in full boom (Etilika) »Underlines Mediobanca. Overall, in 2020, the main platforms specialized in online wine sales increased their revenues by 132.8% on 2019. The 2021 preliminary results show a further increase of more than 60%.

The strong growth has placed these companies at the center of M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions, acquisitions and mergers). The undisputed star was Tannico who, after seeing the entry into the Campari Group capital in June 2020 (49%, with the option of being able to rise to 100% starting from 2025), acquired a majority stake in May 2021 of the French portal Venteàlapropriété in July of the same year it entered the joint venture created by Campari and Moet Hennessy, the wine division of the luxury giant LVMH. Other important transactions concerned Callmewine, which at the end of 2020 was acquired by Italmobiliare of the Pesenti family (60%), and Xtrawine which in July 2021 saw the passage of the majority of the capital to the Made in Italy Fund, the private equity fund promoted and managed by Quadrivio & Pambianco.

What are the most promising markets for wine e-commerce companies? According to an analysis by Iwsr, London Institute for Market Research on Wine and Alcoholic Beverages, growth will be led primarily by the United States, for which the Iwsr expects a compound annual growth rate of 20%. It means that the States are set to become the most important global market for online alcohol. The contribution of China will be smaller than the US, which is nevertheless one of the largest squares. Today it is worth about 33% of the online alcohol trade. There is not only wine, however, and sales. In fact, new trends are already emerging: according to the Iwsr, currently about 20% of the online alcohol market is made up of beer, cider and ready to drink. And in the next few years, by 2025, they will be the ones to “steal” important shares from the wine segment.

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