Majority of consumers oppose wine in supermarkets, study reveals

June 16, 2011

A survey of wine drinkers conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management has found that 54 percent say they are opposed to a New York State proposal to sell wine in supermarkets.

In a survey of more than 5,000 households, 42 percent of those opposing sales in supermarkets cited "negative impact on small businesses" as their reason for doing so. Other reasons included reduction of wine selection (19 percent), likely end of personalized services (15 percent), end of a unique shopping experience at specialty stores (11 percent), perceived unfairness of competition (8 percent), potential for abuse/unhealthy buying behavior due to wider availability (7 percent) and loss of jobs in a troubled economy (4 percent).

Of those who support the proposal, 87 percent favored it for shopping convenience. Another 10 percent anticipated a decline in the price of wine, and 5 percent favored it because it promoted greater competition.

"Unlike other studies that have surveyed the general population, all of the participants in this study were actual consumers of wine," says Arun Jain, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research in the UB School of Management.

According to the co-authors of the study, Jain, Ram Bezawada and Gary Pickering, survey participants included both men (38 percent) and women (62 percent) representing all age, income and education groups. Jain and Bezawada are co-directors of the school's Research Group in Integrated Marketing (RIM). Pickering is a professor of biological sciences and psychology/wine science at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.

In general, support for wine sales in was greatest among the young, who are more pressed for time and favored convenience. Older households tended to oppose the selling wine in supermarkets.

When asked how the availability of wine in supermarkets would impact how much wine they purchase, 70 percent of participants said they would buy the same amount, while 17 percent anticipated purchasing more wine and 13 percent said they would buy less.

"These findings are important because proponents of this proposal claim that wine sales, and therefore tax revenues, will increase greatly if wine is sold in grocery stores, but the truth is that there will be little change," Jain says.

"In the end, approval of the proposal to sell wine in supermarkets will be detrimental to smaller wine stores because they cannot make the volume purchases of a large supermarket chain," Jain says. "In addition, grocery stores do not have enough shelf space to carry an extensive selection, and their employees are not as knowledgeable about wines, so what the consumer may gain in competitive pricing will be offset by the loss of variety and expertise."

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not rated yet Jun 17, 2011
I think the wine specialty shops are feeding this survey. In my state, we can buy wine at the grocery store, and the selection is rather good. And convenient.

Bev-Mo is a specialty wine shop, and they do well here. If I want to go off the beaten path, I go there. I think New York Wine drinkers only shoot themselve in the foot by holding these ignorant opinions.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2011
I suppose as marjon says if it didnt sell it wouldnt be there-
not rated yet Jun 17, 2011
wines good for you - cleans the blood - Europe doesn't have a problem - keep eating fatty foods the pharmacy business is owned by the banks
not rated yet Jun 19, 2011
I think the wine specialty shops are feeding this survey.

Or their customers care about wide selection.

A similar situation was going on here in Colorado with beer. Grocery stores want to sell full strength beer. They have no interest in the craft brew market, but would out compete in the BMC (Bud,Miller,Coors) market making it very tough for many small stores to stay in business.

As an obsessed beer snob, anything that might limit my selection is bad, very bad. I don't see an ideological economic perspective that is more significant than my simple desires, here. This is luxury we are talking about, not necessity.

If it's only NYC we're talking about, I couldn't car less. But if we're talking in general, you have to consider less robust markets. If one craft beer/wine store near me goes out of business, my life (and many others with discerning tastes) is dramatically affected.
not rated yet Jun 19, 2011
If all you drink is mass produced crap that gives you hangovers, then why not have super stores with all you want? Personally, I love going to my little shop, where they know me by name and we talk beer (or wine in this case). It enriches the individuals and the community. You get a reputation for good taste at a place like that, and they surprise you with that specialty beer that only comes in at 1 case per year and you didn't even know they had it hidden in the back.

It's a different market strategy. The super store makes money from large volumes. They have no incentive for extra service or selection. The craft store makes their money on bigger markups. Their service and selection more than make that markup worth it.

We should foster a market for both of these, if possible, but if one means the demise of the other, you gotta go with what adds richness to the community.

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