Online wine sales were growing before Covid-19, absolutely. But the pandemic has accelerated a trend towards online shopping, transforming consumer habits and shaping new business models in a matter of weeks.
People who had perhaps never considered going online to buy wine before having done so for the first time this year, prompting much of the wine trade to invest in their online operations, and fast.
With restaurants shut over much of 2020, stockpiling wine for drinking at home has driven larger volume orders.
Whether this will continue in the longer-term once restaurants re-open is unclear.
However, should the online shopping trend continue, and analysts agree that seems very likely, then larger volume orders are also likely.
When you don't have to carry the bottles home yourself, there's a tendency to ˜make the most' of a delivery and order more. Single bottle purchases are welcome on most sites, but many retailers require a minimum spend to get free delivery, so unless you are spending big on a single bottle, it's usually more cost effective to order more.
Over 2020, the result has been bigger volume orders, usually by the case, with home delivery offering a level of convenience and choice not always possible in traditional retailers or supermarkets.
With not a lot else to do, wine lovers have seemingly been looking to mix up their wine racks by exploring new regions and grape varieties.
As such, the internet is a tonic for those looking to try something new. There are varieties of Orange wines from Croatia, or pet-nat Retsina wines from Greece.
The internet will deliver, making the search for oddities and rarities easy, and with limitless shelf space.
Some brands have reported an unexpected uplift in sales during lockdown, including Gonzalez Byass UK, which reported a rise in Sherry sales during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
With pubs and restaurants closed and events coming to a standstill, the rise of virtual events and online tastings has been an important tether for retailers.
Offering them a channel to engage with and retain consumers throughout 2020.
Before, a highly involved wine lover may have booked a ticket to attend an in-person tasting with an expert or winemaker weeks in advance.
Now you can have wine samples delivered to your home, chat about the wines with the winemaker from the comfort of your armchair.
This was always possible, in the technological sense, but acceptance of this way of communicating has grown massively as people have become more familiar with new ways of interacting online.
For online retailers such events have become a vital part of their approach to building trust in their brand and developing a community of engaged consumers.