Among the many facts and analysis shared during our recent webinar on the 2022 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, a few really stood out. We gathered some highlights and key stats from the session. The report is an annual collaboration between Sovos ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics, providing detailed insights into the DtC wine channel.
The market has tripled in the last decade
DtC wine shipping is a growing, dynamic part of the overall wine industry. The 2012 DtC report tracked retail value of DtC shipments at $1.3 billion, while the 2022 report saw shipments break the $4 billion mark for the first time, reaching $4.2 billion in value. There had been concerns for how the DtC market would follow up the record-breaking, pandemic-driven year of 2020, but the growth continued.
In 2021, winery shipments made up 12% of off-premise sales of domestic wines, the highest share since our report was first published. Additionally, more states (namely Alabama and Kentucky) opened for DtC wine shipping last year, and will likely see continued volume increases in 2022 as more wineries obtain licenses to ship to those states.
Good wine can be found all around, from wineries of all sizes
In the 1970s, consumers realized that great wine was coming from California. This insight created a cult following of areas like Napa and Sonoma counties. The Golden State remains at the top spot for share of total DtC market value. Furthermore, Napa was shipping one million cases a year in 2011. Last year, Napa shipped a record breaking two million cases. Even with that, Sonoma surpassed Napa’s volume and currently makes up 31.7% of the overall DtC channel.
Today, consumers are realizing that great wine is coming from every corner of the country.
The Eastern U.S. wine industry has seen significant growth in both value and volume. Ten states in this region brought in $900 million in sales in 2021. Oregon and Washington also both make up a healthy share of the overall market. Oregon outperformed all other tracked regions with double-digit increases in both volume and value of shipments.
Limited size wineries (up to 999 cases produced annually) performed especially well in 2021. The value of wine shipped increased by 18.4%, while the average price per bottle shipped is now up to $74.86, an increase of 26.8%. And of course DtC shipping remains a lifeblood for those in the small winery category (5,000 – 49,999 cases produced annually), which accounts for 43.3% of all bottles shipped DtC in the United States.
First-time buyer retention was strong
It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic affected consumer habits. The DtC market saw tremendous growth in 2020, with many consumers purchasing wine online for the first time. Tasting rooms and wineries opened back up in 2021, leading to fewer first-time DtC buyers, but continued growth in DtC shipments. First-time buyers in 2020 became re-purchasers in 2021, showing that wineries are doing something right when it comes to retaining customers, which is key. It’s important to cultivate and maintain relationships because the number of orders is directly correlated to the size of orders over time.
Forecasting for the future
The future may be unknown, but the data paints a picture for what could be on the horizon in 2022. Customers who made their first DtC shipping channel purchases in 2020 stuck around in 2021, and will likely continue to buy.
Additionally, while the numbers show an 11.8% increase in the average bottle price in 2021, that is a sign of the ‘return to normalcy’ in the DtC channel. There was a bit of an anomalous dip in average bottle price in 2020, as consumers bought more everyday wines DtC, versus higher priced bottles. There is no telling what may happen in 2022, but Sovos ShipCompliant is ready to keep you informed of changes as they unfold.
Learn more about managing your DtC alcohol shipping compliance.