State of the Wine Consumer 2021: Top 5 Trends for 2021
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State of the Wine Consumer 2021: Top 5 Trends for 2021

February 18


It’s no secret that 2020 was a monumental year for changes in consumer behavior and the wine industry saw these shifts happening at record speed. Online sales boomed while tasting room traffic was inconsistent and experiences strained. Non-food-centric wine occasions (e.g. Zoom happy hours) evolved at home wine consumption while on-premise sales were basically nonexistent. Looking ahead to 2021, how has the last year shaped what is to come in 2021? Let’s take a look at the top 5 trends to expect in 2021: 

E-commerce Comes of Age

In the words of Wine Industry Digital Futurist Paul Mabray, “If you’re not digital, you’re dead.” The online shopping world allows consumers to connect with brands online as well as compare pricing, reviews, and discover new wines in the digital space. 

New Year, New Formats

With a change in drinking patterns, many consumers are widely open to “drinking outside of the bottle” and are opting for canned wines, bag-in-a-box wines, as well as being enthusiastic about smaller formats and tasting kits. In less than a decade, sales of wine in cans have jumped from just $2 million in 2012 to $183.6 million over the 52-week period ending July 11. Representing nearly 1.8 million cases of wine, the past year’s sales vaulted 68 percent higher than those of the previous 52 weeks, according to Nielsen data.

Better for Me, Better for We

The pandemic and quarantine was a time for consumers to reevaluate their health choices and reflect on their overall carbon footprint. In the last few years, alignment with environmental and social issues is a badge of honor for brands, and looking forward to 2021 is a must-have. According to a study by Wine Intelligence,  “Millennials lead the way in purchasing from the range of sustainably and environmentally produced wine, and nine in 10 are “willing to pay” more for sustainable wine. Among all U.S. wine consumers, $3 was the average extra value that consumers indicated they were “willing to pay” for a sustainably produced wine.”

Wine Anytime

2020 was a year void of tight schedules, reservations, and strict plans which allowed wine drinking occasions to be more fluid. More time for meal preparation, digital meet-ups, the desire to treat ourselves as well as socially distant hangouts allowed many to (re) discover wine. As we look into 2021, look for wine to replace other spirits and beverages that were occasion-based now that many understand wine is much more versatile than before. 

Think Global, Act Local

The supply chain became universally transparent to consumers worldwide as many waited in line for things like toilet paper, pasta, and even trampolines. According to research by Kantar, this is driving a surge in “localism” around the world with consumers more likely to purchase goods from their own country. Tracing a product origin story is easy to do thanks to the online space and look for wine consumers to be inclined to check out wines that are closer to home and are part of a community. 

Looking at these trends for the year ahead, it’s crucial that your brand use these as a roadmap for strategy and innovation. Make sure you’re always thinking ahead and anticipating these consumer behaviors as they are more than likely to become the norm for the years to come.