Wine Consumer Behavior

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WINE CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR: AN IRISH WINE MARKET ANALYSIS. A LITERATURE REVIEW.

Sarah Geraghty Shannon College of Hotel Management sarahgeraghty@shannoncollege.com

ABSTRACT

The Irish wine market, worth €1.65 billion in 2009 (DIGI, 2010), has experienced unprecedented growth in the last fifteen years, growing from an 8% share of the overall alcoholic beverage market in Ireland in 1994 (WDB, 2007) to 22% in 2007 (DIGI, 2009). Relative to the long history of wine making and wine drinking, the marketing of wine is in its infancy (Thomas and Pickering, 2003). With approximately 1,451,000 wine drinkers (WDB, 2004) Ireland is an attractive and profitable target market for international wine brands.

This research aims to analyse the consumer behaviour of Irish wine drinkers, to provide marketers with an insight into the purchase choices of consumers. A profile of consumption patterns will provide marketers with valuable pointers on the type of wine preferred and the wine attributes that appeal to Irish wine drinkers. These pointers can inform brand positioning strategies, in particular labelling, advertising and point of sale decisions.

This paper is a literature review of wine consumer behaviour theory as applied to the Irish market. Assael’s 2004 model of consumer behaviour is adapted to a wine consumption context and three areas of influences on behaviour are reviewed; individual influences, decision making process influences and environmental influences. The review identifies patterns in Irish wine consumer behaviour, such as preference among wine consumers for wine from Australia and Chile. Irish consumers have a preference for red wine, particularly shiraz/syrah and Irish wine consumers identify price, style and region of origin as the most important product attributes when choosing wine. While the literature provides valuable insights into Irish consumer behaviour and preferences, there is little understanding of how the wine consumer behaviour environment in Ireland (e.g. culture, reference sources) influences preferences and choice of wine. The next stage of this research is to undertake primary research, using semi-structured interviews to analyse environmental influences on Irish wine consumption behaviour.

INTRODUCTION

“Why do consumers buy the wines they do? It’s a big question, and predictably there isn’t a simple answer – at least not one that applies to all 26.4 million of the UK’s regular wine drinkers (Wine Intelligence, 2008, p. 1).” With approximately 1,451,000 wine drinkers in Ireland (WDB, 2004), the Irish wine market is considerably smaller than the UK market, yet it was worth €1.65 billion to the Irish economy in 2009 (DIGI, 2010). Marketers of wine targeting Irish wine drinkers face the same question; why do Irish consumers buy the wines they do?

Wine Intelligence (2008, p. 1) answer the question above by stating that by investigating wine consumers and their relationship to wine, patterns emerge in consumer behaviour, and these insights “can help the wine industry not only understand the way people act, but also begin to influence it.” This current research paper aims to analyse consumer behaviour of Irish wine drinkers, to provide marketers with an insight into the purchase choices of Irish wine drinkers. A profile of consumption patterns will provide marketers with valuable pointers on the type of wine preferred by and wine attributes that appeal to Irish wine market. These pointers will inform brand positioning strategies, in particular labelling communication and point of sale decisions.

The paper is a literature review of the history of wine marketing and the role on consumer behaviour in effective wine brand positioning. A model of consumer behaviour by Assael (2004) is adapted to the wine consumption environment, and introduces three areas of influences on wine consumer behaviour; individual consumer influences, decision making process influences and environmental...
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