Fine wines/champagne and spirits declined in 2021 after seeing record high sales in 2020. Despite the decline, however, 2021 sales remained far above the 2019 level, as the pandemic led consumers to shift their spending to at-home alcohol consumption, as well as to trade up to higher-end luxury brands.
E-commerce of fine wines/champagne and spirits in the US is governed by several federal, state and local laws that vary across local markets. 2020 saw a significant loosening of e-commerce and other online ordering and delivery-related restrictions, as sales through many store-based channels were restricted throughout large parts of the year, leading to acceleration in the channel’s growth.
In particular, sales of fine wines/champagne and spirits were higher in 2020 and into 2021 as consumers with limited other options to spend their discretionary income on entertainment, including those equipped with government stimulus payments, traded up to higher-end premium and luxury brands, as well as more expensive bottles of wine, for their significantly increased at-home consumption of alcohol. E-learning, remote working and closures and/or capacity limits at bars and restaurants lasted throughout much of 2020 and into 2021 until the vaccine rollout, which led consumers to spend significantly more time in their own homes than in a typical year.
As consumers continue to spend more time at home than they did pre-pandemic as a result of the longevity of remote working and other behavioural shifts, at-home alcohol consumption will remain elevated even as restrictions on on-trade consumption are eased. Premium and luxury agave spirits such as tequila and mezcal, as well as whiskies, have been and are likely to continue to be the fastest-growing categories within luxury spirits over the forecast period, particularly once the craft movement returns to an improved state of health as domestic and international tourism rebound.
Having seen a dramatic increase in usage throughout 2020 and 2021 as consumers were reluctant to leave their homes to visit grocery retailers and non-grocery specialist retailers to purchase alcoholic drinks, e-commerce will continue to be the fastest growing sales channel for fine wines/champagne and spirits over the forecast period. This is partly due to the plethora of new internet-enabled delivery services that has continued to come into the market since the onset of the pandemic.
While fine wines/champagne and spirits enjoyed strong growth amidst the pandemic, the category will face increasing competition from legal, recreational cannabis in the forecast period. With recreational cannabis now legal for adults aged 21 and over to purchase in stores and consume in many of America’s most populous states, including California, Illinois, Washington, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts, the competition amongst recreational cannabis brands and producers has led to an increasing number of premium-priced and branded products in all forms of consumption, including flower, vape and edibles.
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Fine Wines/Champagne and Spirits
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