Nielsen: Consumers Attracted to ''Glitz'' of Celebrity Wines

Famous Names Boosting Wine and Spirits Sales at the Grocery Store

Growth of Celebrity Wine and Spirits in Food and Liquor Stores (Graphic: Business Wire)

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.--()--Celebrity-driven alcohol beverage products - - those branded with the name of, or directly associated with a famous individual - - are gaining popularity in the U.S. and wine is emerging as the star of the show, according to The Nielsen Company.

Gaining marketing leverage from celebrities as diverse as film director Francis Ford Coppola, former NFL coach Mike Ditka, professional golfer Greg Norman and recent releases from Martha Stewart and Paul Newman, celebrity wines are on the rise. Celebrity wines are up nearly 19 percent in grocery store sales since last year and represent 0.9 percent ($41.8 million) of total wine sales. Celebrity spirits sales show the same growth rate (19 percent) in grocery stores and represent 0.3 percent ($7.5 million) of the total spirits category. In liquor stores, celebrity spirits are growing at an even faster rate, showing a nearly 21 percent increase since last year, compared to celebrity wines liquor store growth rate of 8 percent.

Celebrities are increasingly lending their names to wine and spirits, for a variety of reasons, said Richard Hurst, senior vice president, Beverage Alcohol, The Nielsen Company. While some celebrities have had a long-standing personal affinity for these product categories, others view these products as extensions of their established lifestyle brands and have connected with willing supplier partners to produce and market them. Some suppliers, particularly wine suppliers, do not have the resources to launch big advertising and promotional campaigns and a celebrity can lend a brand instant recognition. Ideally, the celebritys reputation also helps reinforce the companys image in the marketplace.

Backstage: Behind the Growth Trend

Since 2000, celebrity wines have shown steady growth in dollar sales and category share.

Several factors are fueling the growth of celebrity wines, said Hurst. First, existing brands are expanding and gaining new distribution through new line extensions. Second, more celebrities have launched their own brands in the past year or have had suppliers launch products under their names. As these brands have proven themselves, theyve gained distribution in other retail outlets, which has further stimulated growth. And third, savvy marketers leverage the celebrity benefit into expanded marketing programs via in-store vehicles, outdoor events and traditional and online media.

Consumers Willing to Pay More

Nielsens research shows that while promotions, such as in-store advertising are driving incremental sales, celebrity wines do not necessarily receive much more retail paparazzi support. Fifty percent of celebrity wine volume is sold on promotion - - about the same as the table wine category as a whole. When it comes to pricing, however, consumers are paying an average of $8.50 per 750ml bottle of celebrity wine, versus $5.75 per bottle of table wine. Most celebrity wines are priced between $12 and $15.

Celebrity Wines Shine on the West Coast

Geographically, celebrity wine sales tend to mirror table wine sales. Some markets however, particularly those on the west coast, are more receptive to celebrity brands. Nielsens analysis of grocery store sales in 52 U.S. markets shows that consumers in Phoenix purchase 68 percent more celebrity wine compared to table wine, relative to their national share, with Los Angeles and San Francisco, Dallas and San Diego also showing above average sales.

Above Average U.S. Markets for Celebrity Wine Purchases vs. Table Wine Purchases



Total U.S. Supermarkets   100
Phoenix   168
Los Angeles   128
San Francisco   122
Dallas   122
San Diego   117

Source: The Nielsen Company, U.S. Supermarkets with $2 million and over in sales.

(1)Percent category sales in market divided by percent grocery ACV sales in market, times 100.

While a celebrity on the label is not a sure-fire recipe for success marketers appear to be honing in on the kinds of celebrity products and positioning that make brands stick, said Hurst.

About The Nielsen Company

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit,


The Nielsen Company
Jennifer Frighetto, 847-605-5686


The Nielsen Company
Jennifer Frighetto, 847-605-5686