Friday, July 18, 2014

The US Surpassed France as the World's largest Wine-consuming Nation

Picture: Washington DC, USA

Mike Steinberger: Recently the U.S. surpassed France as the world's largest wine-consuming nation, a statistical milestone that underscores the shifting balance of power in the wine world. Americans are drinking wine in ever greater numbers, and are drinking more widely than the French, the Italians, and the Spanish ever did.

The following new figures were released by the OIV (Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin) a few months ago. They are revised estimates for 2013.

The Top 12 Global Wine Consumers (in Mio. hl)

1. USA 29.1
2. France 28.2
3. Italy 21.8
4. Germany 20.3
5. China 16.8
6. UK 12.7
7. Argentina 10.3
8. Russia 10.0
9. Spain 9.1
10. Australia 5.3
Other: Portugal 4.5
Other, between 3 and 4: Belgium and Luxembourg, Greece, The Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, Chile

The US has become the largest wine market in the world. Americans consumed more wine in 2013 than any other country. France came very close, with a difference of 1 Mio hl. Then, with a considerable difference, follow Italy and Germany, both consuming a bit more than 20 Mio hl.

Whereas France and Italy have a high (and declining) per capita consumption, as does Germany, although a bit lower, the US consumes very little per capita (only a bit more than 10 liters), but there is a large number of American consumers. In addition, American wine consumption per capita is growing.

Mike Steinberger: What also sets us (the American consumers) apart from more established markets is that we are increasing our wine consumption. In France, Italy, Spain, and other European countries, wine consumption is plummeting. In France, it has declined more than 50 percent since the 1960s and continues to fall.

China follows (#5) with about half of the consumption of the US. As in the case of the US, Chinese per capita consumption is low, but the number of consumers is huge. In fact, at less than 1 liter, the Chinese per capita consumption is dismal. But as in the US, per capita consumption is on an upward trend. If the per capita consumption increases just by as much as – for example – the Australian per capita consumption increased between 2007 and 2013, China would become the largest wine market in the world, overtaking the US, France, Italy and Germany. There is no doubt in my mind that this will happen. The only question is how fast.

Pictures: Chinese Wine in Beijing, China

The UK (#6) is a large consumer but produces almost nothing itself. All is imported. The per capita consumption is sizable, but as everywhere else in the Old World, on a declining trend.

Russia (#7), like the UK, is also a large wine consumer that produces almost nothing itself. Unlike the UK, per capita wine consumption is increasing. Russia is one of the drivers of the global growth in wine consumption.

Then follows Argentina (#8), with about 10 Mio hl, with Spain (#9) closely behind it.

The top 10 list is completed by Australia.

Looking further down the list, there is Portugal, at around 5 Mio hl. Portugal has a high per capita consumption, but a small number of consumers. Then follow a number of countries, all in the 3 Mio hl to 4 Mio hl range: Belgium and Luxembourg (combined), Greece, The Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil and Chile.

In terms of global growth: the US, China and Russia are driving growth in global wine consumption. The old world is a drag on growth, as per capita consumption is declining and the population stagnating. Global wine consumption has increased by about 1 percent per annum in the past 10 years and is forecast to grow by about the same rate in the coming years.

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