Buying wine on promotion is trading-up in UK supermarkets: A case study in Wales and Northern Ireland
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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Purpose – Most wine in the UK is sold in supermarkets and most of this on promotion. This holds down average bottle price squeezing profit margins when wine is sold below-the-line. This paper aims to develop understanding of what currently influences consumers to buy in supermarkets and what might influence them to trade-up. Design/methodology/approach – Literature related to supermarket shopping and to wine buying in an off-trade environment was reviewed. Several issues which may influence wine buying in supermarkets in the UK, particularly the impetus to trade-up, were identified. An exploratory study using focus groups followed to explore these issues in further depth. Findings – Wine bought along with groceries can be seen to be as ordinary as any other fast moving consumer good. This perception influences consumers’ wine buying behaviour in supermarkets. In particular it influences perceptions of suitability and price. Research limitations/implications – This was an exploratory study with a small sample population and so cannot be taken to be fully representative of the whole UK adult population. Nevertheless, it raises many significant issues in relation to wine buying in supermarkets, all of which would benefit from further research. Practical implications – The results highlight areas where all off-licences, particularly supermarket chains, could usefully review their current marketing strategies. Originality/value – This study highlights the fact that there are two wines in many consumers’ minds. Much wine related research has been undertaken at the high involvement, luxury end of the market, but very little at the low involvement, ordinary end where most sales take place. This paper starts to address this issue.
Ritchie, C., Elliott, G. and Flynn, M. (2010) 'Buying wine on promotion is trading-up in UK supermarkets: a case study in Wales and Northern Ireland', International Journal of Wine Business Research, 22(2), pp.102-121.
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