Export results reflect challenging global trends

Australian wine exports declined by 2 per cent in value to $1.90 billion and 3 per cent in volume to 607 million litres in the 12 months to December 2023, according to Wine Australia’s Export Report released today.

Although these figures are an improvement on than those reported in the September 2023 Export Report, the results are still well below long-term averages.

Wine Australia Manager, Market Insights, Peter Bailey said that Europe and North America drove the reduction in Australia’s export value over the year, declining by 7 and 12 per cent respectively.

“In Europe, exports to the top 15 markets declined in value as the region suffers through higher inflation rates than North America and Asia, as well as supply chain issues. This includes the United Kingdom (UK), Australia’s largest export market by volume. Pleasingly, Australia’s exports to the UK grew in volume for the first time since mid-2021,” Mr Bailey said.

“Both the United States (US) and Canada contributed to North America’s decline in value. In 2023, packaged shipments to these markets continued their decline and unpackaged shipments, which were growing strongly, have started to ease off.

“The decline in exports to Europe and North America has resulted in their share of export value dropping to 29 and 27 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, Asia’s share of export value has grown to 37 per cent.

“Hong Kong and Singapore were stand out destinations for Australian wine in Asia, driving the growth of value to the region. Further, the number of exporters to Hong Kong also grew – up 138 export businesses to a total of 531 in 2023. Hong Kong and Singapore are key trading hubs in the Asian region and, as such, some of the wine is on-shipped to other markets,” Mr. Bailey said.

The top five markets by value were:

• US (down 7 per cent to $364 million. 19 per cent share of total export value)

• UK (down 3 per cent to $361 million. 19 per cent share of total export value)

• Hong Kong (up 74 per cent to $290 million. 15 per cent share of total export value)

• Canada (down 24 per cent to $143 million. 8 per cent share of total export value), and

• Singapore (up 1 per cent to $133 million. 7 per cent share of total export value).

The top five markets by volume were:

• UK (up 2 per cent to 220 million litres. 36 per cent share of total export volume)

• US (down 5 per cent to 134 million litres. 22 per cent share of total export volume)

• Canada (up 7 per cent to 73 million litres. 12 per cent share of total export volume)

• New Zealand (down 2 per cent to 29 million litres. 5 per cent share of total export volume), and

• Germany (down 7 per cent to 27 million litres. 4 per cent share of total export volume).

The decline in Australia’s exports comes at a time when most wine producing countries are reporting decreasing sales. The global alcohol market is softening and impacting the entire wine category, especially in mature markets. This trend has been attributed to a combination of global economic tightening resulting in less discretionary spending and consumers being more conscious of their health.

IWSR research conducted in the first half of 2023 indicated a “significant negative shift” in spending on all alcohol, with all regions except Asia trending negative. Consumers cited “economic moderation” as the main reason. Furthermore, 2023 was the worst performance for the alcohol market in the United States since 1991, declining by 5 per cent in total servings according to research by bw166.

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