Wine sales in the modern distribution channel in Italy grew by 7.9% in volume and 6.9% in value, year-on-year, in the period 1 January to 19 April 2020.
The data, processed by IRI for Vinitaly, takes into account sales in hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores and small independent retailers.
Sales of DOC and DOCG wines grew by 6.8% in volume terms (+7.6% in value), IGP and IGP wines by 10.5% (+7.7% in value), table wines by 7.2% (+4.1% in value) and sparkling wines by 1.2% (+1.6% in value).
In March alone, as the COVID-19 epidemic worsened, DOC and DOCG wines saw sales increase by 9.9%, while IGT wines increased by 4.0%. Sparkling wine dropped by 5.4% however Prosecco grew by 8.3%.
Bag in Box wines grew by 36.8% in the month of March, the data showed.
Organic wine sales continued their positive trend, with sales of 1.55 million litres in Q1 2020 (+19%).
According to IRI, wine sales in the modern distribution channel have been boosted by a drop off in the restaurant and bar trade since the advent of the coronavirus crisis.
However, the growth in wine sales in the large-scale distribution is not enough to fill the demand gap created by the closure of the HoReCa channel, especially for the high-end labels.
For comparison purposes, almost 670 million litres were sold last year in the modern distribution channel, accounting for a market value of just over €2 billion. Sales increased by 1.2% in volume and by 1.8% in value, while the average price paid was €4.66/litre (+1.3%).
Spirits At Risk
Meanwhile, the Italian spirits sector is paying a heavy price due to the coronavirus crisis, partly because of the concentrated consumption in bars and restaurants.
According to Federvini's estimates, the drop in turnover in the spirits sector was 60% in just one month. To add insult to injury, exports, worth €220 million, have also suffered, after already being undermined by the heavy duties decided by the US last autumn.
The spirits sector was one of the most competitive in the Italian food and drink market, thanks to specialties such as liqueurs, aperitifs, limoncello, amaretto and sambucca.
The segment consists of 320 businesses, 75% of which are Italian family-owned, while the remaining 25% are global companies based in Italy.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine