Wine Gifting - The New Social Fad

By Shekhar Badve, afaqs!, | August 06, 2014
Shekhar Badve

Being in the design industry ,identifying with beauty comes naturally and this time it was not the lady standing beside, but the Burgundy bottle classic and elegantly being placed in a gift box with a red satin that got me attracted.

To understand this further I decided to undertake a research under the 'Love@First Sight - Mini' series to take note of our consumers and the new wine gifting trend driven by them. While wine started off as symbolic and was used in religious ceremonies, emotional connect as a social attribute, as well as, a feeling of sophistication have led to it emerging as a preferred gifting option for celebrations. Another interesting observation was that during consumer wine tasting sessions individuals, not connoisseurs, tend to blindly sample several different wines which they not necessarily would differentiate based on their tastes alone. Here, a key factor for them being whether the packaging was attractive enough to attract them towards the wine. This showed that the packaging does define desirability. The recall of some of the domestic brands was established through their label, packaging and utility of the wine bottle which accentuates a certain identity for its brand in comparison to taste which only a connoisseur would understand. Furthermore, it was observed that this fad of wine gifting is distinctly driven more amongst the urban audience and is largely followed by the couples for special moments, professionals for birthdays and anniversaries.

The total industry consumption has today hit 17 million litres and is valued at over INR 1400 crores and has recorded a steady growth going from 15% to 18% in the last year. It is being driven in greater extent by domestically produced lower priced wines, a fact well validated in the meteoric growth in the number of Indian wineries which has gone up to over 75 at present from less than 10 in 2000.

Interestingly, the choice of the consumers 25 to 40 years of age distinctly highlighted red wine over white wine because of the appeal created by the red colour. Additionally, when we probed further about the pre and purchase experience, the insights distinctively showed that accessorising the packaging of the bottle created excitements towards the product. The accessorising here ranging from the need of message cards, limited edition bottles, Packaged in or with jewellery boxes, cushioning, etc. This has led to several domestic brands investing in attractive packaging, a feature which is also now perceived as finer quality and expensive. A last but interesting titbit - we asked what would you like to do with the bottle after being used and most of the respondents wanted to preserve the bottle and reuse as a lamp. This is clear indication that utility could also be leveraged for brand recall.