ONE of the mainstays of Australian containerised exports saw volumes fall overall in 2023, with some key markets sliding further than others.

According to Wine Australia’s annual Export Report, released yesterday (31 January), exports declined by 2% in value to $1.90 billion and 3% in volume to 607 million litres, in the 12 months to December 2023. 

Although these figures are an improvement on than those reported in the September 2023 Export Report, the results are still well below long-term averages, the peak body said.

Wine Australia manager, market insights, Peter Bailey said that Europe and North America drove the reduction in Australia’s export value over the year, declining by 7% and 12% respectively. 

“In Europe, exports to the top 15 markets declined in value as the region suffers through higher inflation rates than North America and Asia, as well as supply chain issues. This includes the United Kingdom, Australia’s largest export market by volume. Pleasingly, Australia’s exports to the UK grew in volume for the first time since mid-2021,” Mr Bailey said.

“Both the United States and Canada contributed to North America’s decline in value. In 2023, packaged shipments to these markets continued their decline and unpackaged shipments, which were growing strongly, have started to ease off. 

“The decline in exports to Europe and North America has resulted in their share of export value dropping to 29% and 27% respectively. Meanwhile, Asia’s share of export value has grown to 37%.” 

Wine Australia said Hong Kong and Singapore were stand out destinations for Australian wine in Asia, driving the growth of value to the region. Further, the number of exporters to Hong Kong also grew – up 138 export businesses to a total of 531 in 2023.

“Hong Kong and Singapore are key trading hubs in the Asian region and, as such, some of the wine is on-shipped to other markets,” Mr Bailey said. 

The top five markets by value were:
•    US (down 7% to $364 million. 19% share of total export value)
•    UK (down 3% to $361 million. 19% share of total export value)
•    Hong Kong (up 74% to $290 million. 15% share of total export value)
•    Canada (down 24% to $143 million. 8% share of total export value), and
•    Singapore (up 1% to $133 million. 7% share of total export value).

The top five markets by volume were:
•    UK (up 2% to 220 million litres. 36% share of total export volume)
•    US (down 5% to 134 million litres. 22% share of total export volume)
•    Canada (up 7% to 73 million litres. 12% share of total export volume)
•    New Zealand (down 2% to 29 million litres. 5% share of total export volume), and
•    Germany (down 7% to 27 million litres. 4% share of total export volume).

Wine Australia noted the decline in Australia’s exports comes at a time when most wine producing countries are reporting decreasing sales.

“The global alcohol market is softening and impacting the entire wine category, especially in mature markets. This trend has been attributed to a combination of global economic tightening resulting in less discretionary spending and consumers being more conscious of their health,” the body said.