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A simple way to boost wine sales

With the deadline to enter IWC 2020 Tranche 1 two weeks away, we are republishing the study which proves how medal success in the Challenge can aid your business...


New study shows a strong customer bias in selecting wines carrying IWC medal stickers. Photo: Getty Images

A simple way to boost wine sales
  • Chris Boiling
  • 2019-10-08
A study conducted by the International Wine Challenge (IWC) has revealed that wines bearing the foil stickers for their gold, silver, bronze or commended medals can sell up to seven times as many bottles as the same wine with no sticker.
The study, conducted in conjunction with UK supermarkets M&S and Co-op, was designed to gauge customer reaction to wines displaying medal stickers. During a four-week period in December the IWC’s gold, silver, bronze and commended stickers were applied to more than 100 award-winning wines carried by the two retailers. The results were compared with control stores of a similar size, location, range, and shopper demographics.

M and S3
The results showed a strong customer bias in favour of the stickers. Sales of Co-op’s gold medal winners grew by 200% where the stickers were applied, whilst the retailer’s IWC Great Value winner saw an increase of 476%. The overall increase across all stickers when combined – gold, silver, bronze and commended – was 24.1%.
M&S saw a 117.3% jump in sales of wine with gold stickers, while one silver medal winner increased sales by an incredible 700% during the period.

Top-performers at the M&S test store were:

  • +700% – Kendal Lodge Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2016 from South Africa (IWC Silver)
  • +364% – Champagne Delacourt Vintage Brut 2004 (IWC Gold)
  • +300% – Soave Classico 2017 (IWC Commended)
  • +279% – Côtes du Rhône 2016 (IWC Bronze)
  • +153% – Vintage Port 2007 (IWC Gold)
  • +81% – Chablis Domaine Pierre de Prehy 2016 (IWC Gold)

Top-performers at the Co-op test store were:

  • +467% – Co-op Irresistible Gavi del Comune di Gavi (IWC Silver and Great Value winner)
  • +460% – Co-op Irresistible Explorers Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (IWC Silver)
  • +350% – Co-op Irresistible St Gabriel Viognier 2017 (IWC Silver)
  • +266% – Co-op Irresistible South African Chenin Blanc (IWC Bronze)
  • +200% – Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut (IWC Gold)
'They make a significant influence on their purchases'
Sarah Benson, the Co-op’s wine buyer (Commercial BWS, Impulse and Kiosk), said: “We have seen very positive results which would suggest that customers recognise the IWC medal stickers and they make a significant influence on their purchases.”
Elizabeth Kelly, wine specialist, Marks & Spencer, commented: “We saw a great uplift on our wines following the IWC award stickering – especially at the gold and silver level. It was interesting to see the results across a range of price points; from our everyday favourite Côtes du Rhône seeing a 279% uplift, to our new house vintage Champagne, Delacourt 2004, which we were delighted won a gold medal – and sold 300% more than in comparable stores.”

IWC-2014-Stickers resize
These figures support earlier studies which have shown similar results for IWC medal winners – with both retailers and producers benefitting from the increased sales, reputational boost and demand.
The stickers are a crucial step in helping guide consumers at the point of sale – as Helen McGinn, author of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club and IWC Panel Chair, comments: “It’s really hard to choose a wine when you go into a shop and you’re looking at a whole wall of bottles and a lot of them look fairly similar, you’ve only got a label to go on. An IWC medal is a really easy way just to signpost and help them make a decision when it comes to buying.”

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