Research on Social Media & Wine Consumers: A summary of findingsLaura Conway, San Francisco, 2011In May 2011 many members of the forum participated in my survey on social media and wineconsumers as part of my research project for my Wine MBA degree at the Bordeaux ManagementSchool. I want to take this opportunity to once again thank you for your participation and sharewith you a summary of the research results.In October I went to Bordeaux to give an oral defense of the dissertation and graduate with myclassmates at Chateau Dauzac in Margaux. It was a wonderful time and I was happy to bringalong my newborn, Colin, to experience autumn with me in France.Below is a summary of findings followed by the results to the individual survey questions.Topic: This research explores the underlying theory that for high-involvement buyers of wine,sales are linked to consumer knowledge and that social media is a major driver of knowledge thatin turn promotes product affinity. We examine how social media has transformed sales andmarketing practices, and the implications for fostering growth across various consumer segmentsand markets.Objective: We aim to discover how social media disseminates knowledge, such as wineeducation and brand endorsements, and observe the effects of these exchanges on reported wineconsumer behavior. We consider to what extent wine education, word of mouth, and socialinfluence empowers the customer to make more informed purchasing decisions and which mediaforms have the greatest influence on particular demographics.Research questions: The following five research questions led the study. 1) How does the wineindustry leverage social media to deliver educational and promotional content to boost sales? 2)Which features of websites and virtual communities do wine consumers value the most? 3) Whodo consumers trust most for their wine information and what is the power of online word ofmouth? 4) What is the typical profile of an active wine social media user? 5) What are theemerging trends in Wine 2.0 such as the use of fan pages, mobile applications, and tablet devices?Important findings and implications: Traditional marketing techniques based entirely on printmedia and advertising are being used less frequently, especially for brands that target consumers
who spend much of their time on the internet. American consumers, in particular, rely highly onpositive word of mouth from friends and family and are frequently willing to find information onthe internet. Integrated marketing strategies that leverage social media are gaining in importancefor many new brands and appear to exert the greatest influence on high-involvement wineconsumers and on younger generations. There is a real opportunity for wine companies to targetthose types of consumers via social media to keep them engaged with their brands and up-sellthem to higher priced products as they develop an ongoing ‘digital’ relationship. The use ofTwitter, Facebook fan pages, and mobile wine applications is limited to a fairly small populationof wine consumers; however, despite being a small group, these wine consumers are influentialopinion leaders among their peers. Therefore, if you reach this group via social media, you areactually reaching a much larger audience. This segment is also more likely to spend more moneyper bottle because of compelling messaging (or education) and provide ROI from using atechnology-driven marketing strategy.Method and distribution network: The primary research method was a quantitative analysis ofan online survey that was created and managed using Qualtics.com. It was implemented bydistributing a link on several domestic and international websites, in addition to the author’sextended email network. See the breakdown below: Table 2: Distribution network Sources Response Percentage Gmail (US) 164 32% Cellartracker (US) 122 24% Wine Berserkers (US) 77 15% Jancis Robinson (UK) 55 11% Vintank (US) 36 7% Facebook (International) 19 4% Vrazon (Spain) 15 3% Testers & Anonymous 13 3% Adegga (Portugal) 5 1% 506 100%Sample: The respondent sample consists of 506 consumers of which 95% are characterized ashigh-involvement wine drinkers who like to try new wine styles and share their opinions withothers. The typical participant is an American male, aged 36 to 45 years old, well educated andwealthy. Although there were 670 total responses to the survey, we consolidated the results to506 complete responses. This isolated data set allowed us to make cross tabulations using only thequalified responses.
Below are the results to the individual survey questions.1. What is your gender?2. What is your age?3. Do you or anyone in your family work in marketing, market research, or wine?4. How often do you consume wine?5. Please indicate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following statements:6. How often do you purchase a bottle of wine (in a store, restaurant, online, at auction, etc.)?
7. How much did you spend on your last three wine bottle purchases? Please round to the nearest whole number and select currency.Purchasing habitsApproximately half of the participants (49%) purchase wine at least once a week, and based on their last three bottlepurchases, their average spend per bottle was $53. This is twice the $23 per bottle we calculated from the subset(24%) of the respondents that self-reported their typical spend per bottle. Note that reported prices are often inflatedas people may remember special or unusual purchases. Our average was also slightly skewed due to oneparticipants’ extremely high three-bottle average ($617), exceeding the typical range between $10 and $200.8. How often do you consume Red, White, and Rosé wine? Include all types of wine such as still, sparkling, dessert/fortified.9. How often do you consume still, sparkling, or dessert/fortified wines?10. Do you have an affinity for a particular wine style? Select the choice that best describes your taste.
11. Over the past 6 months, have you consumed wines from any of the following countries? Select all that apply.12. Over the past 6 months, which red varietal wines have you consumed? Select all that apply.13. Over the past 6 months, which white varietal wines have you consumed? Select all that apply.14. Do you have a favorite region, grape variety, or producer? Fill in all that apply. Region: Bordeaux #1, Burgundy #2 Grape: Pinot Noir #1, Cabernet Sauvignon #2 Producer: None #1, Ridge Vineyards #2
15. Where do you find information about wine? Select all that apply.16. Have you ever read about wine on the internet?’17. In the past week, how many hours did you use the Internet for making purchases of any kind? (All on- line purchases, not just wine)18. Last year, what percentage of the money you spent on-line was for wine? Please select the category that best fits this number.19. Please rate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements:20. How often do you provide wine recommendations in a given month?
21. On a social wine website, how important are the following features?22. How long in total do you spend on social media actively per day?23. Do you use any wine related mobile applications? Select all that apply.
24. What is your favorite mobile wine application and how frequently do you use it? When asked about their use of wine mobile applications, most participants reported that they did not use any applications. Of those who reported using mobile apps, the two most popular were ‘Cor.kz’ (15%) and the ‘Wine Spectator Vintage Chart’ (13%). The fact that 66% of the sample does not use applications and that there are no real clear forerunners in this category, we can deduce that this type of technology is still in its infancy in terms of mass adoption.25. Which of the following resources (printed or online) do you use to learn about wine? The most popular resources to learn about wine included: 1) Cellartracker, 2) Wine Searcher, 3) Wine Spectator, 4) Jancis Robinson, and 5) the Wine Advocate.26. Please list your favorite wine blogs. There was no clear forerunner, but there was some frequency in reference to Dr. Vino and The Wine Doctor as a first choice.27. How much do the following wine writers/critics influence your opinions about wine? Jancis Robinson received the most votes in the ‘very influential’ category for wine critics followed by Robert Parker. Meanwhile, the most universally known writers included (in descending order): Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Stephen Tanzer, Eric Asimov, Oz Clarke, and Tim Atkin.28. Please list your top three preferred wine opinion leaders. Although many respondents said they had no preferred opinion leader, here are the results of those that were able to rank. Favorite: Jancis Robinson (9), Allen Meadows (8), Robert Parker (7), Stephen Tanzer (7) Second: Stephen Tanzer (9), Jancis Robinson (6), Robert Parker (5) Third: Gary Vaynerchuk (4), Stephen Tanzer (4)29. Do you currently subscribe and pay for any specialized wine content (printed or on-line reviews, magazines, newsletters, etc.)?
30. Please check or list your subscriptions (print or on-line) below:31. Please rate the influence of the following factors when you receive wine recommendations:32. Please rate the influence of the following sources when purchasing a wine that you have not bought before:33. In the past year, have you ever bought wine because of any of the following? Select all that apply.
34. Have you ever done any of the following on websites (wine related or not) that allow social networking? Select all that apply.35. Are you a Facebook fan of any wine product pages?36. How often do you purchase this wine? If you are a Facebook fan for more than one wine brand, respond for the one that you purchase most frequently.37. Before becoming a fan on Facebook, how often did you purchase this wine?38. What prompts you to interact with wine brands (as a Facebook fan, email subscriber, event attendee, etc.)? Select all that apply.
39. How likely are you to connect (provide your email, become a Facebook fan, join the wine club, etc.) with a wine brand you are not yet connected to over the next year?40. If you have a favorite wine brand, what is it?41. Have you ever taken a wine course?42. Do you have plans or a desire to attend a wine course in the future? Yes 66% No 34%43. What is the highest level of education that you have received?44. Which of the following best describes your household make-up?
45. Which of the following best describes your current employment status?46. Which of the following best describes your household income?47. In which country do you live? The ‘other’ countries included Australia (6), Japan (4), Belgium (3), Finland (3), Denmark (2), Hong Kong (2), Netherlands (2), New Zealand (2), Singapore (2), Slovakia (2), Argentina, Austria, Bermuda, Czech Republic, ‘EOTE’, Macau, Norway, Poland, South Africa, and Sweden.