Women Buy More, Men Spend More

Expensive wines are a male preserve -- at least that's what a study by Wine direct/Enolytics for the US market suggests. Women buy, 61.2% of wines under US$20 a bottle, but 71.5% of bottles over US$90 a bottle are bought by men. The tide is turning, however.

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Woman buying wine (Photo: progressman, Stock.Adobe.com)
Woman buying wine (Photo: progressman, Stock.Adobe.com)

Few professionals will be surprised to learn of the proportion bought by men - after all, numerous studies in the past have already shown that, for women wine is often a product to be picked up in a supermarket as part of a weekly budget. According to Jennings & Wood (1994), these purchases accounted for 70% of total wine purchases in the UK  while for the US market, the figures ranged from 60% (George, 2005) to 80% (Todd, 2005), depending on the study. Given the fact that food retailers have this kind of market share in most countries where they are allowed to sell wine, it is reasonable to imagine that these numbers would apply elsewhere.

However, this does not explain the figures in the super-premium segment. Other studies indicate that the majority of men see wine consumption as a mark of distinction and sophistication, and allow this to distract them from price. For example, according to a 2012 study by Sharon L. Forbes, examining markets in New Zealand, Australia, the USA and the UK, Over a third - 34% - of women responded to discount promotions on wine, compared to only 23% of men. Only 13% of the women said that the origin of the wine was important to them as opposed to 24% of men.

According to a 2001 study by the ARENI Global fine wine think tank,  however, the female share of premium wine purchases is growing strongly (as reported by Meininger's). In the UK and the US, they account for 30% of these purchases - in line with the data of the new study - whereas in Hong Kong and China, they  are already at 50%. This study, by the way, also put the share of premium wine buyers under 35 years of age at 38% globally, and suggested that the trend is rising.

Especially the higher number of single households among younger generations, as well as a gradual levelling-out of salaries between men and women could lead to a significant increase in the share of women among premium wine customers.


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