France, like other countries, has seen a meteoric rise in internet retailing. Although growth rates have now slowed a little, they remain substantial. Here’s an analysis of the market from a consumer perspective.
A global phenomenon
From 2006 to 2015, online wine sales worldwide soared by 600% and France followed this trend. In 2018, online wine sales in France are expected to reach €1.8 billion. This represents nearly 10% of wine sold and 29% of French people have already bought wine online.
Categories of market players:
DTC: For France’s 70,000 winegrowers, the investments required to market small quantities are often a headache.
Wine merchants: They now account for more than half of online wine sales, but their growth seems limited.
Super/hypermarkets: Despite the fact that the vast majority of wine is sold via this channel, they have momentarily failed to capitalise on the rise of online wine sales. But they are far from having thrown in the towel.
Pure players: These are the ones that gained most market share during the golden decade. For the most part, their range hinges essentially on price and volume-driven wines.
The Gilbert & Gaillard approach
A dedicated site, launched in early 2018, offers the possibility of buying some of the wines tasted throughout the year. The principle is very simple: the bottles are sent directly by the winegrowers.
Gilbert & Gaillard takes responsibility for transport and ensures that the wine arrives in perfect condition. The company’s core business revolves around tasting wines and publishing guides (wine scores). Its team of professionals on its tasting panel tests 15 to 18,000 wines every year, including 10 to 12,000 French wines. Its approach is therefore very different to that of a traditional Internet retailer, whose requirement is to “get rid” of inventories....
In the near future, the team will also offer a chat hotline, to provide customers with answers to any questions they may have.
By Alain Echalier