SOWINE/SSI 2011 Barometer: internet, social networks and wine in France


For our beloved English-speaking followers.

Publication of the results of the 2011 SOWINE/SSI Barometer, the first survey to study the influence of new technologies on the behaviour of wine consumers in France. It answers the questions posed by the wine industry: what relationship do the French have with wine? What are their sources of information and how important are new technologies? What role do social networks play and how do they influence the act of wine purchasing?
Where wine is concerned, most French people consider themselves to be novices: they want information and need to be reassured before buying
– 74% of the French questioned consider wine to be different from other alcoholic drinks. A majority (62.3%) consider themselves to be novices where wine is concerned.
– 63.8% of the French think at least some wine knowledge is necessary in order to appreciate it and 74.6% of those questioned believe it is essential to do some research before buying wine.
Internet and new technologies play an important role in the search for information prior to buying wine, ahead of traditional sources of information but behind advice from one’s entourage 
– Advice from one’s entourage is still the French consumers’ primary source of information before purchasing wine, with 46.8% of those questioned stating they seek such advice. 
The Internet and new technologies rank fifth (13.3%), behind advice proffered by liquor stores (34.6%), wine specialists (15.3%) and advice directly from the vineyard (14%). Then come specialist wine guidebooks (7.7%) and specialised (4.4%) or the general (3.3%) press. 
Blogs and forums devoted to wine are consulted by one in three purchasers, and producers’ websites by one in four, whilst fee-paying tasting note websites attract barely 5% of regular purchasers.
In France, whilst wine consumers are fairly active on social networks, their membership of online wine communities and use of cellphone applications are relatively low 
– Despite being relatively active users of generalist social networks (+5% compared with the population overall), barely 4% of regular purchasers belong to specialised wine-based networks and 6% to groups devoted to wine on generalist social networks. Oenological cellphone applications are not particularly popular either, with barely 21% of respondents claiming they find them useful.
A critical mass of active users remains the key to success for a social network or a cellphone application, whether specialist or generalist.
Although the number of online purchasers is still relatively small, online purchases are substantially different from those that prevail in traditional channels of distribution
10% of the French say they buy wine online, and the typical purchaser is a young, urban male 
Two in three people who use the Internet to prepare their purchase complete the purchase offline 
– The average amount spent on a purchase on the Internet is sizeably higher than the amount spent offline: the average budget (+102%) and the volume purchased (+90%) are practically twice as high.
The 2011 SOWINE/SSI Barometer confirms the special relationship the French have with wine and the increasingly important role played by the Internet and new technologies in pre-purchase research. However, it remains to be seen how the industry will develop the necessary tools to incite consumers to buy online and whether specialised social networks will manage to mobilize a sufficiently large member base to leverage their development in France.
The SOWINE/SSI Barometer is the first survey to study the influence of the Internet and new technologies on the behaviour of wine consumers in France. It was first published in 2010; this is the second edition.
SOWINE/SSI 2011 Barometer: survey of a sample of 1,200 people representative of the French population as a whole, conducted from 1 to 8 February 2011