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The steady wine markets of Denmark and Sweden

Market Bulletin | Issue 298
26 Sep 2023
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On 23 and 25 October 2023, Australia and New Zealand will be hosting tastings in Denmark and Sweden to collaboratively showcase the quality and diversity of their wines to local members of the wine trade. Denmark and Sweden are the sixth and fourteenth largest export markets respectively for Australia by volume, making them important to total export performance. This Market Bulletin will highlight the latest trends impacting wine consumption in these two countries, and how they compare to Australia’s other key markets.

Wine has a strong position in market

Sweden and Denmark represent two significant opportunities for Australian wine in Europe. These two countries, as well as their other Nordic neighbours Finland and Norway, are consistently ranked highly as far as quality of life and happiness of its citizens. According to the World Bank, the Nordic countries are wealthier (per person) than the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU), and have tracked very closely with Australia over the past decade (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: GDP per capita (current US$)

(Source: World Bank)

Wine also has a significant hold on the alcohol industry in Sweden and Denmark. While beer holds the highest volume share in both markets, wine is the highest by value, representing just over $2 billion in sales in each market in 2022 according to IWSR. Compared to other key markets for Australian wine, wine has a higher share of the alcohol market (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Wine’s share of alcohol sales volume by market

(Source: IWSR)

While the volume of wine consumption has declined by at least 1 per cent per annum since 2017 in the top four markets for Australian wine (Australia, United Kingdom, United States, and Canada), Denmark has had a slower decline by 0.5 per cent on average and Sweden bucked the trend, growing by 1.6 per cent over the past five years.

Breaking down wine consumption further reveals that commercial wine (priced below SEK102 per bottle) has an 84 per cent share of wine sales in Sweden, although this has declined from 89 per cent in 2017. This is due to the premium wine segment (SEK102 and above) growing by an average of 10.6 per cent per year on average during that time period. Reflected in the dominance of the commercial category in Sweden is the popularity of bag-in-box wines, which make up more than half the sales volume. Unlike many other markets, Sweden’s commercial wine sales are forecast to be flat to growing over the next five years (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Volume of wine consumption in Sweden and Denmark by price segment

(Source: IWSR)

In comparison to Sweden, Denmark has a lower and much more stable share of commercial wine (below DKK105 per bottle) – 73 per cent in 2022. Both commercial and premium wine have declined just under 1 per cent per annum over the past five years, and only premium wine is forecast to grow marginally over the next five years. 

Frequency of wine consumption increasing in Sweden

As wine consumption and the number of wine drinkers declines around the world, wine drinkers in Sweden are going against this trend. Over the past five years wine consumption per capita in Sweden has grown by 1 per cent per year to hit 25.7 litres per adult in 2022. According to Wine Intelligence, there are more weekly wine drinkers in Sweden now than before the pandemic, making up 34 per cent of the population. There has also been a notable increase in daily wine drinkers, indicating a shift towards a more ingrained wine culture. While wine consumers over the age of 59 are the largest wine drinking segment, those aged between 27 and 42 are by far the most involved with the wine category and seeking new styles to try.

Although the Swedish and Danish wine markets are similar size in retail value, the Danish population is much smaller, meaning that on average each person in Denmark drinks more wine per year. Although it has been dropping over the past five years, Danish adults still consumed 32.6 litres per person in 2022.  According to Wine Intelligence, Denmark has a larger proportion of wine drinkers who consume wine nearly every day or several times a week, when compared to Sweden.

Varied performance for Australian wine

Australian export performance to these two markets has been varied in recent times. In the year ended June 2023, exports to Sweden declined by 11 per cent in value to $20 million but increased by 2 per cent in volume to 5.5 million litres. While export growth to Denmark has been positive in the last couple of years, performance dipped in the year ended June 2023, with value declining by 17 per cent to $34 million and volume declining by 9 per cent to 18 million litres. It should be noted that nearly 50 per cent of Australian wine exports to Denmark are unpackaged – they are bottled at the destination and then are sold in Denmark, but also other European markets, including Sweden. 

According to IWSR, while Australia holds a 7 per cent share of the commercial wine segment in Sweden, its share of the premium wine market is just 1 per cent. Retail performance is a bit more positive in Denmark where Australia holds a 3 per cent market share of premium wine and has outpaced this part of the market in the last five years – growing by 7 per cent per annum, compared to a 1 per cent decline for the total market. 

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.