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Consumers traded down in 2009
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(First appeared in La Journée Vinicole, Edition 2010, February 24 2010)
Japanese wine imports rose by 4.5% in volume last year, according to data released by customs and reviewed by the Spanish Wine Market Observatory (OEMV).
However, despite the fact that volumes increased to 1.88 million hectolitres from 1.8m the previous year, value imports actually fell by 16.7% on the back of declining prices.
The average import price per litre dropped by 20.3% to 4.10 euros compared with €5.15 in 2008.
By country, France still ranks as the number one supplier country, but witnessed declining volume (-6.8%) and value (-26.6%) sales to Japan.
Italy also saw a drop in value sales (-6.1%) but improved volume sales by 3.2%.
The underlying trend towards buying cheaper wines last year was illustrated by Chile, which leapt by 26% in value and 23% in volume.
Spain also achieved a huge 23.5% increase in volume but grew by just 1.4% in value.
Japan imports primarily bottled wines (68%) and the category rose by 7.3% in volume last year to 1,285,000 hectolitres, but fell by 9.7% in value to €553m.
The Japanese market seemed to be in no mood for celebration last year as sparkling wine imports fell by 11.6% in volume and a huge 36% in value.