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  January 31st, 2021 | Written by

The European Wine Market Overcomes the Pandemic Year with a Stagnation

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  • To mitigate the negative effects of the crisis, the EU has taken temporary measures to deviate from certain competition.
  • European wine markets are mature, with no significant growth in consumption.

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Wine – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2019, after three years of growth, there was a decline in the EU wine market, when its value decreased by -2.8% to $35.3B. Overall, consumption saw a mild descent. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2017 with an increase of 3.8% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the market attained the maximum level at $38.9B in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2019, consumption stood at a somewhat lower figure.

The countries with the highest volumes of wine consumption in 2019 were Spain (3.5M tonnes), Italy (3.4M tonnes) and France (3.3M tonnes), with a combined 61% share of total consumption.

From 2013 to 2019, the biggest increases were in Italy, while wine consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest wine markets in the European Union were France ($9.5B), Italy ($6.2B) and the UK ($4B), with a combined 56% share of the total market (IndexBox estimates). These countries were followed by Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Romania, which together accounted for a further 34%.

The countries with the highest levels of wine per capita consumption in 2019 were Spain (74 kg per person), Italy (57 kg per person) and Portugal (51 kg per person).

European wine markets are mature, with no significant growth in consumption. The quality of European wine is highly valued all over the world because the EU countries are the main exporters of wine in the world market. Italy, Spain and France together supply 80% of all wine exports to the EU, shipping both to other European countries and outside the EU.

Overall, the EU wine market was expected to grow at a moderate pace amid weak population growth and continued relatively high incomes, as well as increased tourism. However, in early 2020, the global economy entered a crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a notable transformation of markets in the EU, in particular the wine market. The pandemic  affects various market parameters: macroeconomic performance, sales channels, supply chains, consumer behavior, and prices.

Despite favorable weather conditions, the EU’s grape harvest remained below average in 2020 as producer associations and national governments limited production to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic on the wine market. Preliminary data shows that despite improving performance in the second half of 2020, overall a slight decline could be expected in terms of the annual wine production in the EU.

Inventory management problems and the state of traditional distribution channels represent a great uncertainty in the current market environment. According to available estimates, about 30% of the wine market in volume terms and 50% in value is accounted for by the HoReCa segment (hotels, restaurants, cafes), which were most affected by counter-pandemic measures. The situation was aggravated by the closure of borders, which led to an unprecedented reduction in tourism, the role of which in the GDP of the main wine-producing countries was quite large.

Significant volumes of wine are sold in specialized stores, which were also closed during the quarantine period. Although the growth in wine consumption in the supermarket sector increased slightly, it did not compensate for the decline in other sales channels. Reduced demand for wine has worsened the position of distributors and importers in foreign countries, exacerbating the negative impact of the pandemic on the European wine industry.

With the easing of quarantine restrictions, the demand situation should have improved slightly, but in general, it is expected that a full recovery of export supplies and the work of the HoReCa sector in importing countries will take a long time. In addition, consumer incomes have declined in many countries due to the crisis, exacerbating price competition.

On the one hand, winemakers’ unions seek to reduce their wine production to save on storing unsold bottles, and on the other hand, wineries need a higher yield to cover their financial costs. Therefore, in 2020, there is an imbalance in the European market due to a decrease in wine sales and a high level of wine stocks, which additionally pushes prices down and thereby aggravates the financial problems of market players.

Against this backdrop, there is a serious threat that small family vineyards will go bankrupt, as they do not have the means to pay wages and other expenses, which could lead to their purchase by large international groups. To mitigate the negative effects of the crisis, the EU has taken temporary measures to deviate from certain competition rules, namely, industry operators are allowed to self-organize and implement market-based measures at their level to stabilize the sector and with regard to the functioning of the internal market for up to six months. For example, it is allowed to plan joint promotions, organize storage, and jointly plan production.

Given the above assumptions, the EU wine market is expected to stagnate or shrink slightly in 2020 compared to the previous year. Over the medium term, as the economy recovers from the effects of the pandemic, the market is expected to grow gradually at an expected CAGR of + 0.6% between 2019 and 2030, which is projected to increase the overall market size. to 14.8 billion liters (IndexBox estimates) by the end of 2030.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform