Lockdown gives French online wine retailers a boost

Thursday April 23 2020 by Vitisphere

 Since lockdown was introduced in France on March 17, e-commerce platforms selling wine to private customers have seen sales go through the roof. Since lockdown was introduced in France on March 17, e-commerce platforms selling wine to private customers have seen sales go through the roof.

Wine sales for the pure players such as Vin-Malin, Millesima, le Petit ballon and les Grappes and wine merchants such as Nicolas, le Repaire de Bacchus and Lavinia have soared since the beginning of the lockdown. Vin-Malin reported that sales have almost trebled since the week of March 9, and the average spend increased by 125% in the week from March 30 to April 3.

At Le Petit Ballon, sales rocketed by 250% from 12 March to 8 April compared to the same period last year, with the number of orders surging by 200%: “These are not new customers but people who know us, who are already in our database”, commented one of the website’s founders Martin Ohannessian. “We have seen an increase of more than 100% in our business with private customers compared to last year, with volumes on a par with the Christmas period”, said Loïc Tanguy from Les Grappes.

At Millésima, the trend is also positive, but much less pronounced, with sales increasing by 5% in March and 30% in the first week of April. Once again, the increases were stoked by a strong increase in the number of orders. With a high-end positioning, its average spend decreased from €44 to 36 /bottle. “Good weather has prompted strong growth in rosé purchases. People are also buying more mixed cases”, said CEO Fabrice Bernard. “You can feel that the trend is being driven by people looking for pleasure and wanting to treat themselves”.

For “traditional” wine store chains such as Nicolas and Lavinia, online sales have allowed them to support some of their business, though they have not offset the losses. “We are no longer rolling out our usual visitor acquisition systems, so traffic has dropped, but this is compensated for by a higher conversion rate”, added Edouard Maguin, head of Lavinia. Visitors are more “qualified”, in other words, they come to the website less by chance and spend more.

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