Off-trade volume sales grew faster in 2020, compared with 2019. Despite the shift to the off-trade channel following the closure of foodservice establishments, in line with the government’s efforts to stem the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), this was insufficient to avoid a sharp fall in total volume sales.
All wine categories were hit hard by the closure of on-trade outlets intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Lockdown and social distancing and quarantining measures had a strong impact on sales of all types of sparkling wine, which only exhibit significant volume sales in the on-trade channel.
In 2020, the competitive landscape remained highly fragmented in North Macedonia, which has more than 70 officially registered domestic wineries. These most family-owned wineries tend to be small in size, with significant export orientation.
On-trade volume sales are projected to rebound strongly in 2021, as consumers return to pre-pandemic lifestyles, including going out for drinks and meals regularly. However, the return to the on-trade channel is set to be slow and steady, rather than fast and dynamic, due to lingering economic concerns and the residual fear of infection.
Wine is predicted to face challenges in the forecast period, not least due to a shift to beer, particularly among women, for affordability reasons and an expanding range of products, including flavoured/mixed lager. The economic impact of COVID-19 also poses a residual threat to wine, especially higher-end wines.
The distribution of wine in North Macedonia is expected to continue to modernise, as large modern grocery retailers and e-commerce develop and grow sales in the short to medium term. This is likely to exert more pressure on traditional grocery retailers like independent small grocers, as modern retailers offer wider ranges and competitive prices.
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This report originates from Passport, our Wine research and analysis database.
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