UK government plans to ban multi-buy drinks offers may not curb alcohol consumption as much as expected, analysis by Accolade Wines suggests.
‘Shoppers are buying same amount as before’
Sales figures from Scotland, where offers such as three bottles of wine for £10 were banned a year ago, show that most shoppers are simply buying wine more often.
Supermarkets, meanwhile, have cut prices for single bottles.
‘Heavy wine shoppers have not changed their behaviour and are buying the same amount of wine as they did before the ban,’ said the UK’s largest wine firm, Accolade, in its annual Wine Nation report published this week.
Its analysis could have repercussions south of the border. This week, the UK government said it could ban multi-buy drinks offers across England and Wales, as well as introduce a minimum price on alcohol per unit.
Wine sales in Scotland have fallen by 3% in volume over the past 12 months. But, Accolade said. this is only marginally greater than a UK-wide decline, suggesting the multi-buy ban’s effect on consumption has been ‘negligible’.
The results echo an initial evaluation by the National Health Service Scotland earlier this year.
Accolade UK’s general manager, Paul Schaafsma, warned against ‘blunt’ legislation based on too many assumptions.
More generally, Schaafsma said he has ‘never seen the UK wine market under greater pressure’.
Duty tax rises account for 80% of price increases on wine in the past decade and are pushing drinkers away from wine, particularly in pubs and restaurants, he said.
One bright spot is online wine sales, which are growing four times as fast as sales in supermarkets and convenience stores, Accolade figures show. Most online shoppers are experienced wine drinkers.
Written by Chris Mercer