UK market researchers Wine Intelligence recently issued this report from Nicola Spitzer on the influence of social media in the UK and have found that, for all the attention the concept is attracting, it doesn't (yet?) have much effect on British wine drinkers who are still far more likely to be influenced by what's published on supermarket shelves:
Where are UK consumers getting their information about wine from? (Hint: it's not Facebook)
Social networking may be big buzz words in marketing at the moment, but the question remains: is it a mainstream activity for the typical UK wine drinker?
Our latest consumer behaviour tracking research (carried out in June 2010) shows that half of UK regular wine drinkers use the internet for social networking purposes at least twice a week, and around 70% state that they have used social networking at some time.
Not surprisingly, usage frequency is highest among younger wine drinkers (those between 18 and 35). The interaction is typically with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo. Note however, that this interaction is unlikely to be about anything to do with wine. In fact only 1 in 10 UK regular wine drinkers use social networking sites for their wine guidance twice a week or more, and only three in 10 UK regular wine drinkers state that they have ever used social networking sites for this purpose. This is a rather low figure considering the popularity of social networking among these consumers - and when online wine chatter does happen, it tends to be among younger 'millennial' consumers.
Overall our research has revealed that consumers are only occasionally dipping into the array of media sources available to find out about wine, which leads us to the question: where are UK consumers getting their 'everyday' information about wine from? Most of the evidence points towards supermarket shelves' being the main source for consumers to find out their everyday wine information needs. Unfortunately this communications space is difficult to manage as it is controlled by the supermarkets themselves.
Due to its current high profile, it is understandable that researchers, brand owners and marketers consider social media to be the new way to communicate with UK wine consumers. However our evidence suggests that, so far at least, wine has yet to develop the "killer app" to get itself talked about in this new world.