Monday, July 28, 2008

France about to lose its first place as wine producer in 2015

Wine marketingThe French wine industry is under siege. It has been many years French producers are experiencing difficulties to keep their leading spot in the wine market. Whereas new countries sprung up, France is struggling to develop a middle range production and to keep its sales figures. French production would drop from 52.9 million hl between 2000 and 2004, to 43.9 million hl in 2015, a 20% fall that will be a huge hit to this sector. As a matter of fact, Spain is expected to become the first wine producer in the world in 2015, according to French statistic institute CREDOC.

Here are the main reasons established by this study:
  • Lower consumption of wines. This decrease has started 4 years ago due to more and more health concerns and a new generation that is consuming less and less wine during lunch and diner time.
  • Exportations are expected to decrease of 1.1% per year between 2005 and 2015. The key problem here is the sales and marketing forces of other countries like the US or Australia.
My opinion
Wine marketingThe main issue of French producers is their lack of marketing and promotional effort. Due to historical reason, French wines have a great brand equity, which secure the standing in the premium market. But the sales are decreasing because their problems of competitiveness for the lower and mid range products: French wines are sometimes more expensive, and struggle because of the massive marketing effort of other producers (especially Australian's).

Is it totally out of question to rethink the way these wines are marketed and sold? Culturally, French producers found hard to believe they should innovate with their packaging and marketing, whereas French wine are still known to be the best of the world.

But as the world market has changed, especially with new importing actors from Asia, so did the way wine consumption is perceived. Therefore, the innovative spirit of new producers is highly appreciated. Let's not forget we can not sell wine in other countries as you would in France, a country with a great wine culture.

Here will be my main recommendations for French wine producers:
  • Keep the strong historical brand for top of the line wines: French wine are doing great on the premium market. Their product quality allied to their historical brands are some key. I believe the marketing strategies of these products is perfect and has not been affected by the competition.
  • Dare to innovate with middle range wines marketing. Let's use new media, new colors, new display systems in order to stand out of the competition. What Australian do, we can.
  • Find new ways to promote alternative way of consumption, in order to keep up with the trend. I know, it is very hard to think about it, but why not find new way to bottle wine, to promote wine consumption in night clubs, for instance.
Let's reinvent wine marketing in France!
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