SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The room was energized and the mood optimistic as Wine.com, the nation's leading online wine retailer, hosted its tenth annual Industry Growth Summit on Wednesday at Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute.
In morning presentations, the Wine.com management team reported that revenue reached $150 million in 2019, up $20 million over the prior year. At a time when many wineries, wholesalers and journalists are voicing concerns about wine industry growth prospects, Wine.com shared what's driving its growth, and how its trade partners can participate. Growth drivers included:
Expanded marketing – Wine.com has increased its investment in digital and traditional marketing to build its audience to over 25 million visits in the last year.
Mobile app engagement – Customer favorites on the Wine.com mobile app -- label scans, personal ratings & reviews and purchases -- have reached 17 million wines, propelling mobile device revenue to one third of company revenue, growing 30%.
Millennial customers – Driven by the above, millennials are now the company's largest customer segment, making up 26% of revenue, growing 34% in 2019. Of particular note, this segment spent an average of $34 per bottle, higher than any other generational customer segment.
Adding Spirits – Wine.com added Spirits to its assortment in New York, New Jersey and Florida last Fall and to its California customers just weeks ago. With 2,000 unique offerings of whiskey, vodka, tequila, gin, rum, brandy and liqueur, when combined with the largest wine selection, this makes Wine.com a natural one-stop-shop for consumers.
"Our job is to unlock wine industry growth by helping our customers discover the incredible wine our partners are making, importing and distributing," said Rich Bergsund, Wine.com CEO. "Our wineries and wholesalers will grow faster by continuing to help us build the world's largest and most interesting selection of wine, with competitive prices and the most complete and engaging storytelling content."
Michael Osborn, Wine.com Founder and Executive Vice President, positioned Wine.com to the industry as a "wine discovery gateway, not a gatekeeper," referencing the difficulty many wineries and distillers have in reaching consumers through the complex beverage alcohol distribution channels in the U.S.
The Wine.com Merchandising Team, as well as a Best Practices Panel of supplier and wholesaler representatives, highlighted many ways to accelerate growth, including:
Making Wine.com someone's #1 priority in the organization
Increasing Wine.com's allocations of scarce and collectible wine
Using communication protocols to add and update product selection and storytelling content
Leveraging Wine.com tools to manage inventory and keep in stock year-round
Attendees also heard an update from Ray Johnson, Executive Director of Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute, and a presentation from Professor Dr. Damien Wilson, who shared how the university's academic programs stay on-trend and relevant to the wine industry.
Danny Brager, Senior Vice-President of Nielsen's Beverage Alcohol Practice, shared an overview of industry trends and compared the growth of Wine.com to segments of the broader industry. Brager stated, "Wine.com delivers a combination of significant category size coupled with double digit category growth. If I were grading Wine.com on performance, they continue to be top of the class offering both consistent and balanced growth across product segments and across consumer generations, and at the premium end of the wine market."
The event concluded with Wine.com presenting its annual Exemplary Supplier of the Year awards to Napa Valley producer Shafer Vineyards and VINTUS (importers of Champagne Bollinger, Ornellaia, Errazuriz, E. Guigal, Chateau Montelena, and many more). Its annual Extreme Service Award, presented to an individual, was given to Jill Glomb, Key Account Sales Specialist for Winebow Wholesale of New York. Ms. Glomb has been servicing Wine.com for more than 15 years, representing such brands as Shafer, Laurent-Perrier, Catena, Seghesio, Bogle and hundreds of others.
"We are so grateful for this recognition from Wine.com and are proud to be a close partner with the undisputed leader in wine ecommerce in America," said Michael Quinttus, VINTUS CEO. "VINTUS is fully committed to bringing our exceptional portfolio of family wineries to Wine.com's discerning customers. Our partnership is a natural one as we share a deep passion about the magic of wine, and now spirits too."
Wine.com also donated two $10,000 scholarships to the Wine Industry Scholars Program, a collaboration between the School of Business and Economics and Sonoma State University's Educational Opportunity Program, dedicated to supporting and advancing higher education for first generation children from families of vineyard and winery workers.
ABOUT WINE.COM Wine.com is the nation's leading online wine retailer, with over $1 billion of wine sold and shipped to date. The company offers selection, guidance and convenience not found in brick and mortar stores – helping customers discover the incredible world of wine with confidence. Live chat sommeliers provide friendly advice and customers receive unlimited shipping all year by joining StewardShip. Wine.com was recently named Wine Enthusiast's 2019 Retailer of the Year. For more information, visit the company's website at www.wine.com or download its app in the Apple Store or Google Play.