Wine companies are grappling with technology to make the most of the online sales opportunity

Wine companies are grappling with technology to make the most of the online sales opportunity

Technology is driving "unprecedented" change in the way in the way retailers sell wine all over the world, according to the co-founder of market research group Wine Intelligence.

Retailers in developed markets are looking at how digital technology can engage more consumers, amid overwhelming choice and lean economic times.

Meanwhile, use of the internet to purchase wine is rising globally. In China, the proportion of wine drinkers buying online is set to rise to almost 50% by 2020, from 27% currently. In the UK, 18% of wine drinkers buy online, and this could hit 26% by 2020.

"We're seeing unprecedented change in the retail landscape for wine around the world," said Richard Halstead, co-founder and COO of Wine Intelligence, at a briefing organised by trade show Vinexpo in London today (25 April).

Halstead highlighted five key trends in global wine retailing. These were: 'risk reduction', or helping consumers to decipher wine styles; 'connection', such as in-store tastings and online learning; 'theatre', such as displays or encouraging self-service tastings; 'new selling models', including short-term online promotions or online ordering and store pick-up; plus a new 'ultra niche' category for really engaged consumers.