Wine Australia’s latest Export Report reveals that Australian wine exports continue to decline, dropping 11 per cent in value to $1.79bn and four per cent in volume to 604 million litres in the year ending September 2023.
This mirrors an overall decline in global wine consumption across many mature markets, especially in wines retailing at less than US$10 per bottle, which covers most Australian export volumes.
Export volumes have been relatively stable over the previous 18 months but fell by 10 per cent in the latest quarter when compared to the same quarter in the previous year. The decline in volume has been driven by the UK and Canada, with the UK facing inflation and increasing taxes and duties on alcohol. In Canada, levels of unpackaged shipments have been mitigating the decline in packaged volumes in recent time, but this growth is now showing signs of stabilising.
Total export value has been in decline since peaking at $3.1bn in the 12 months ended October 2020, and there is little indication that export value will bounce back soon, explained Peter Bailey, Wine Australia Manager, Market Insights.
“Over the past 12 months, the United States of America was a major contributor to the overall drop in value, along with Canada, and the UK. Growth to Hong Kong offset some of this decline. However, despite this decline over the past year, there were some positive signs in the US this past quarter, with exports growing by eight per cent in value in comparison to the same quarter in 2022,” Bailey said.
Exports to Asia saw mixed results, with exports to Singapore in decline, but increasing to Hong Kong. Key emerging markets such as Thailand and the Philippines also grew in value. In addition, the number of Australian wine exporters increased to 1247 as of September 2023, with 98 more companies exporting than the previous year. Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam saw the highest growth in number of exporters.
The announcement that China has agreed to review its import duties on Australian wine is a welcome one and may improve the situation of exports to the Asian region.
Wine Australia General Manager Marketing Paul Turale said: “There are few positives to take out of the latest numbers, with Australia’s performance broadly reflecting the challenges facing the wine sector globally. Continued efforts to diversify export markets, build distribution and, ultimately, consumer preference for Australian wine, must remain the focus.
“While commentary in this report is retrospective, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the recent news of a review into the duties currently applied to Australian wine imported to mainland China. We welcome the progress and remain optimistic that Chinese drinkers will have access to our world class wines again soon, noting that the sentiment for Australian wine remains positive in the market.”
In the year ending September 2023, the volume share of white wine exports increased from 44 per cent to 46 per cent, and red wine fell to 51 per cent. This was driven by the US and Canada, which had the largest swings away from red wine. However, red wine export share grew in exports to the UK and Germany. Rosé remained at three per cent across all markets.
Sparkling and carbonated exports declined by 13 per cent in value to $67m and 16 per cent in volume to 12 million litres, driven by the US and Canada. However, carbonated wine exports grew by 25 per cent in value, driven by exports to Singapore, Japan, and New Zealand.
Though the premiumisation trend has been positive for the global wine industry, cost of living pressures are slowing this down, with some consumers reducing their alcohol consumption to save money. Generally, these consumers are choosing to reduce their wine consumption by volume, rather than maintaining the same volume and trading down price segments.
In addition, the health and wellness trend has had a significant impact on global wine consumption. Overall alcohol consumption has fallen, with some consumers seeking no and low alcohol wine options or abstaining from wine altogether.
This has resulted in a growth in wine consumption at premium price points (US$10 or more per bottle), albeit at a slightly slower growth rate than previous years, while sales of commercial wines (less than US$10 per bottle) are in decline. This disproportionately affects Australian exports, as 90 per cent of Australian export volumes are in the commercial price segments.
At a glance
The top five markets by value in the year ending September 2023 were:
- US (down 11 per cent to $366m)
- UK (down 10 per cent to $354m)
- Hong Kong (up 26 per cent to $205m)
- Canada (down 22 per cent to $148m)
- Singapore (down 12 per cent to $117m)
The top five markets by volume were:
- UK (down three per cent to 215 million litres)
- US (down four per cent to 134 million litres)
- Canada (up 20 per cent to 74 million litres)
- New Zealand (down three per cent to 31 million litres)
- Germany (down nine per cent to 28 million litres)