French consumers begin to buy wine online

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While web-based sales have been possible on the continent for several years, figures from Wine Intelligence demonstrate that our French neighbours have finally started to buy wine online in earnest.

In 2012, an estimated three million French adults chose to buy wine online, spending an average of €170 each, or a grand total of €500 million.

That's a sizeable market by any measure - but even more intriguingly, the data seems to suggest that older males are responsible for the bulk of the buying.

French online wine buyers are "predominantly male", according to the analysis, and are skewed towards the over-50 age groups.

Unsurprisingly, more affluent households are also seen to spend more, making a rich, mature French man the most likely customer.

In the UK, online wine sales have also been around for several years, and consumers are beginning to embrace the ease with which bottles can be delivered to their doors.

Flexible policies on replacing bottles that go missing, along with good-quality packaging to remove the risk of breakages during transit, mean it is now as sensible to have a bottle delivered as it is to buy it from a shop and transport it yourself.

With this in mind, we could soon see the days when your local wine merchant spends as much time in the post office mailing out packages as in the vineyards tasting new wines.