The evolution of Australian wine consumer habits in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic

Researchers from the Adelaide Business School and Ehrenberg-Bass Institute at the University of South Australia conducted a second wave of data collection on the habits of Australian wine consumers following the first set of results presented in the August 2020 issue of the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine. The researchers share the following findings from this second wave of data, with the full results to be published in Autumn issue of the Wine & Viticulture Journal due out next week.
By Armando Corsi, Larry Lockshin and Johan Bruwer

In the first months of the pandemic crisis there was a proliferation of studies aimed at understanding the impact of lockdown intervention measures on consumer habits.

The Adelaide Business School and Ehrenberg-Bass Institute did their part by administering a questionnaire to a representative sample of Australian wine consumers in May 2020.

The data collection was part of a large international project undertaken by the Academy of Wine Business Research (AWBR) in 11 countries, and the top-line results of the study were published in the August 2020 issue of Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine (Lockshin, Corsi and Bruwer, 2020).

Similar to the first study (wave 1), this wave 2 survey was answered by 274 Australian wine consumers, fully representative in gender, age, and consumption habits of the national wine consuming population. Gender was 50:50 males and females, exactly as in wave 1.

In terms of wine consumption, data showed a slight increase in overall consumption frequency, but this finding does not apply to all genders and age ranges, with males consuming more than females, and Baby Boomers consuming more than younger age groups.

When taking a closer look at wine consumption differences by wine types and a comparison with other popular alcoholic beverages, data shows that the majority of respondents haven’t changed habits since they were last in lockdown.

The only exceptions are represented by dessert wines and RTDs for which the most chosen option was that they didn’t consume those beverages since they were in lockdown.

In terms of wine consumption occasions, respondents believed they consumed wine on the same occasions and about the same amount as they did when they were in lockdown. However, there are two considerations worth making.

The first is that the second highest percentage of responses is from people who declared that they didn’t have a special occasion at home or an online meeting to drink wine since they were last in lockdown. The second is that the percentage of respondents who said they had wine during an online meeting decreased compared to wave 1.

The most interesting result concerning purchase locations was that a large number of respondents declared they didn’t purchase wine through an online wine shop, winery website, or winery cellar door since they were last in lockdown.

It is worth noting that the percentages of those saying they didn’t purchase from these locations are down compared to wave 1 by 10%, 5%, and 13% respectively. These are positive results as they show that the percentage of buyers using these outlets actually increased.

One last set of results worth mentioning concerns the reasons that lead consumers to drink wine. The top three reasons why people consumed wine were: because they enjoyed the taste, it paired well with food, and it helped people to relax.

However, we observed a spike in two reasons potentially associated with people’s mental health which are somewhat worrying: consuming wine because one is bored (+9%) and to distract oneself from problems (+6%).

At the same time wine seems to be used less to socialise with friends (-6%), which could be the result of ongoing restrictions on social gatherings.



Lockshin, L., Corsi, A., and Bruwer, J. (2020) How wine and alcohol purchasing and consumption changed during COVID-19 isolation in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker, Vol. 680, pp. 112-114.


A more detailed analysis of the results and what they mean for the Australian wine industry can be found in the Autumn issue of Wine & Viticulture Journal. Subscribe here.

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