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Poland’s demand for Australian wine flourishes

Market Bulletin | Issue 193
17 Mar 2020
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Since Poland joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, wine consumption has grown on average 4 per cent per year, with total consumption now just behind that of Denmark. Australian wine exports to Poland grew by 34 per cent in value to $4.5 million in 2019, moving it into the top 10 most valuable markets in the EU for Australian exports.

Economic growth since EU accession

Poland is situated in Central Europe, east of Germany and north of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is home to nearly 38 million people, roughly the same as Canada or the state of California. On 1 May 2004, Poland joined the EU along with 9 other countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia) making it the largest expansion of the EU to date.

Since 2004, Poland’s gross domestic product (GDP) has doubled, with strong growth predicted in the next 5 years (see Figure 1). The unemployment rate has also fallen, from 19 per cent in 2004 to 3.8 per cent in 2018 (see Figure 2). This positive movement in economic indicators was not only aided by the development funds provided by the European Union, but also by a boost to Poland’s exports to other European nations. The removal of barriers to trade has also aided in the development of Poland’s wine culture.

Figure 1: Poland’s gross domestic product

Source: International Monetary Fund

Figure 2: Poland’s unemployment rate

Source: International Monetary Fund

Wine consumption growing despite population decline

While beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage in Poland (with an 88 per cent share of consumption), wine has enjoyed steady growth over the past 2 decades. This consumption growth is happening while the population has been in steady decline. Per capita consumption of wine has risen on average 2 per cent per year in the past 5 years as a result and now sits at 3.8 litres per person per annum.  For comparison, Australia consumes 22.5 litres per person, while the United Kingdom consumes 17.7 litres and the United States of America, 9.8 (IWSR).

The growth driver has been imported wine, growing by 5 per cent on average each year since 2000, moving from a 54 per cent share of wine consumption to 83 per cent (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Volume of wine consumption in Poland

Source: The International Wine and Spirit Record (IWSR)

Italian and French wine have a combined quarter share of the value of consumption, while wine from the United States of America is the third most consumed, due to the popularity of market leader brand Carlo Rossi. Australia ranks thirteenth in the market, with a 1 per cent value share.

Figure 4: 2018 share of consumption value by origin

Source: IWSR

The most popular channels for wine purchase are supermarkets, hypermarkets and discount supermarkets, with Biedronka and Lidl being the lead retailers (Wine Intelligence). However, online sales of alcohol are very limited due to government regulations. For more information on labelling requirements, import procedures, and duties, please refer to the European Union Export Market Guide (available to all levy and Wine Export Charge payers).

Spending more on wine

Thanks to an increase in average incomes (see Figure 5), Polish wine drinkers are spending more on wine.

Figure 5: Income segmentation of Polish semi-annual wine drinkers

Source: Wine Intelligence

This is true for both the commercial and premium ends of the market. According to IWSR the value of wine consumption in commercial price segments, below 30 Polish Złoty (PLN) has risen by 3 per cent per year since 2013, while premium price segments (30 PLN and above) have grown by 6 per cent. Premium wine has a 22 per cent value share of the market.

Wine Intelligence reported in 2018 that the average off-trade spend has increased for every occasion since 2015 (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Per bottle spend in the off-trade by occasion

Source: Wine Intelligence

Australian wine surge in popularity

There has been a surge of interest and exports to Poland over the past few years and during 2019 in particular. Since 2014, exports have grown on average 12 per cent per year in both volume and value. In the past 12 months, those growth rates accelerated – exports have grown by 25 per cent in volume to 1.5 million litres and 34 per cent in value to $4.5 million.

Figure 7: Value and volume of Australian wine exports to Poland

Source: Wine Australia’s Export Approval data

Australian exports have grown at every price segment by value, with the above $10 per litre free on board (FOB) segment more than tripling to $367,548 Two-thirds of exports to Poland are shipped at an average value between $2.50–4.99 per litre. The top varieties exported are Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc, with all of them experiencing volume growth in the past year. 

There has been growth in interest in the Polish market by Australian exporters. In 2019, there were 14 more exporters shipping to Poland than the year before. Other emerging markets that had similar changes in exporter numbers are Denmark, Malaysia, and Taiwan (see Figure 8).

Figure 8: Change in number of exporters by market 2019

 Source: Wine Australia’s Export Approval data

**Please note mainland China has been excluded from the above chart as it had a change of over 300 exporters.

For more statistics on Australian exports to Poland, please refer to the Export Market Summary (available to all levy and Wine Export Charge payers).

Please note this data does not take into account the potential impacts of the COVID-19 virus on the Polish or other economies.

This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.