Wine Consumer Behavior

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WINE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR: AN IRISH WINE MARKET ANALYSIS. A LITERATURE REVIEW.

Sarah Geraghty Shannon College of Hotel Management sarahgeraghty@shannoncollege.com

ABSTRACT

The Irish wine market, worth €1.65 billion in 2009 (DIGI, 2010), has experienced unprecedented growth in the last fifteen years, growing from an 8% share of the overall alcoholic beverage market in Ireland in 1994 (WDB, 2007) to 22% in 2007 (DIGI, 2009). Relative to the long history of wine making and wine drinking, the marketing of wine is in its infancy (Thomas and Pickering, 2003). With approximately 1,451,000 wine drinkers (WDB, 2004) Ireland is an attractive and profitable target market for international wine brands.

This research aims to analyse the
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This paper also outlines the direction of future research to address the shortcomings of research to date and to provide marketers of wine with more rounded and meaningful insights into the wine consumption behaviour in Ireland.

BACKGROUND TO THE IRISH WINE MARKET

The Irish wine market has experienced tremendous growth over the past 15 to 20 years, with an almost five fold increase in the consumption of wine from 1.7 million cases in 1990 to 8.2 million cases in 2007 (WDB, 2008). DIGI (2010) reported a 6.9% decline in wine consumption (by volume in 2009), however this decline took place in a year when the overall alcohol market contracted by about 10% due to “poor national economic performance” (DIGI, 2010, p. 6). Despite the recent drop in consumption over the past year, the 450% growth in the Irish wine market since 1990, and the shifts in demand and preference result in the Irish wine market becoming an important target market for wine brands.

Preferences of Irish wine consumers have changed with a notable shift towards ‘New World’ wines, from a 6% market share in 1990 to a 68% share in 2007 (WDB, 2008). Previously, wine was a highly inaccessible product in the market, with high prices, limited selections, and complex labelling (Farren, 2003). In more recent years, wine has become widely available and increasingly affordable and accessible. Quinton and

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