UK consumers are reigning in their spending on wine, according to a survey from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The Wine Intelligence poll of 1,000 regular wine drinkers showed a "marked shift" in spend away from the GBP5 (US$8.09) to GBP6 range and an increase in those spending less than GBP5, particularly in the GBP4 to GBP5 range.

Pubs and restaurants have also seen a sharp increase (48-55%) in the numbers buying wines priced below GBP12 and a fall in those spending more.

Evidence of the economic pressures now facing millions of consumers appears to be underlined by the fact that 72% of wine drinkers now rate promotions as the number one factor in deciding what wine to buy.

The survey also challenges industry assumptions about the impact of brands in the on-trade with the vast majority of wine drinkers saying they would consider buying well-known brands, even in a formal restaurant setting.

Around 70% of wine drinkers said they would consider buying well known brands in a formal restaurant (85% in casual dining restaurants; 88% in bars/pubs).

"These figures testify to the harsh reality facing millions of consumers with budgets squeezed and increasing pressure to reduce spending where possible," said Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of WSTA.

"The survey reinforces our view that continuing steps to push alcohol prices up using tax as a blunt weapon are wholly inappropriate. Equally the survey suggests we in the trade may have things to learn about spending patterns in the on-trade, with brands more readily accepted than previously thought."