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South Korea Closes in on US as Most Attractive Global Wine Market

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New Global Compass 2021 Report from Wine Intelligence Measures and Ranks Market Attractiveness for Wine in 50 Key Countries 

September 7th – London – The United States has once again topped the list of the most attractive wine markets in the  world, though its lead over #2 South Korea was cut, according to a new report from Wine  Intelligence, the global leader in wine consumer research and insights. In 2020, South Korea rose  eight places to take the #2 spot, where it remains again this year. 

The Global Compass 2021 Report is an annual study that measures key economic and wine market  factors to rank wine’s attractiveness in 50 focus countries. 

“The US’s strong economic rebound, partly funded by government stimulus, along with a standout  year for wine sales, kept it ahead in our rankings,” said Lulie Halstead, CEO at Wine Intelligence.  “However, #2 South Korea is gaining fast in our model. Wine growth in the US is tailing off, whereas  still wine volume in South Korea grew by more than +11% CAGR 2016-2020, according to IWSR Drinks  Market Analysis.” 

Globally, the study shows an overall negative average score change compared with 2020. But while  total global wine volume and value decreased last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be  positive in some ways in certain markets. For example, among the countries which experienced the  most significant jumps in the study’s 2021 rankings were Norway, Sweden, and Finland as Covid  restrictions forced consumers in those nations to purchase wine locally instead of crossing borders to  buy. South American markets such as Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina also rose in the model rankings,  driven by expanding consumer bases, the rise of ecommerce, and adventurous attitudes. 

Conversely, tourism-dependent regions such as Spain, Italy, and France have fallen down the annual  rankings as a result of the dramatic decline in the volume of wine that holidaymakers drink within  those countries. Angola’s economic troubles and South Africa’s alcohol sales bans during the  pandemic put those two markets at the bottom of the ranking. 

In many global markets, the immense surge in ecommerce during Covid lockdowns has also been a  positive for wine, creating an unprecedented growth opportunity for the category. Survey data  suggests that wine drinkers are committed to continue with online purchasing even as Covid restrictions are lifted. In the UK, for instance, a larger proportion of consumers have said they would  be more likely than pre-pandemic to continue using online channels when purchasing beverages. 

“While the Wine Intelligence Global Compass 2021 report explores several factors impacting the  global wine industry, Covid of course has been the dominant impact on the model over the past year.  But even though global wine consumption has declined, fortunately what we’ve seen is that  consumers have pivoted, rather than cancel, their consumption habits, transitioning their going-out  behavior into new occasions in the home or in outdoor settings,” added Halstead.  

After the US and South Korea, rounding out the top-5 ranked markets in the study are the UK,  Ireland, and Germany, which all saw strong wine volumes during the year. The report notes that  Colombia has joined Brazil, Poland, Romania, South Korea, and Singapore as a “growth” market this  year, with Mexico and Russia falling from that category into the “emerging” wine markets category.  China, also considered an “emerging” market, fell 13 places in the rankings to #17. 

The Wine Intelligence Global Compass 2021 report and accompanying data tool serves as an annual reference guidebook to help wine businesses make informed decisions. More information about the  study can be found here

About Wine Intelligence Ltd 

Wine Intelligence, a division of the IWSR Group, is the global leader in wine consumer research and insights.  Founded in 2002, we now conduct projects on behalf of wine businesses in more than 35 wine markets. With a  team made up of wine industry and research specialists, we offer a broad range of research, insights and  strategy services to help wine businesses make better and more profitable business decisions. For more  information about Wine Intelligence, please visit www.wineintelligence.com

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