Sales Of Canned Wines See Major Growth In Japan’s Post-Pandemic Market; Companies Offer Single-Serving Drinks As “Little Luxuries”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sales of canned wine are growing.

The pandemic era saw a rise in people wanting to drink alone at home, a trend that has been seized on by the makers of canned wine, whose sales are steadily increasing, even as the domestic wine market is shrinking. Now major wine makers are releasing new canned products one after another in an effort to hit rewind.

Mercian Corp. has released two new kinds of sparkling rose wine in 280-milliliter cans for around ¥400 (including tax) each, which is on the higher side for canned wine. The maker aims to cultivate demand for it as a “little luxury” among women in their 30s and 40s.

Mercian has already had success with the canned sparkling wine it released last August. That product enjoyed sales 1.3 times its annual target in 2023.

Suntory Holdings Ltd. also launched a canned sparkling wine in September at a price of around ¥200 (including tax); they plan to sell a rose wine for a limited time starting this July. Suntory sells four types of canned wine from its &Wine series at Seven & i Holdings Co. group stores.

“We want to boost the market by strengthening canned wine,” a Suntory spokesperson said.

Most canned wine products are single-serving sizes, between 280 and 350 milliliters. Compared to bottled wine, which is sold at convenience stores for several hundred to ¥1,000 per 750 milliliters, canned wine is less expensive and does not require the drinker to go to the trouble of removing a cork. Cans are also easier to recycle.

According to research firm Intage Inc., domestic wine sales peaked at ¥145.1 billion in 2020. In 2023, sales were ¥124.1 billion, representing a decline of 3.8% from the previous year, due in large part to prices rising because of liquor tax hikes and the sharp depreciation of the yen. The popularity of sour cocktails and other ready-to-drink canned beverages has also pushed wine sales down.

Sales of canned wine, meanwhile, totaled ¥3.4 billion in 2023, about 2.5 times what they were in 2017. The market was especially bolstered by sparkling wine, which grew a massive 62.8% from the previous year.

Intage analyst Toshimitsu Kiji said: “The increase in the number of single-person and dual-income households as well as a growing trend toward picking simpler options are behind the popularity of canned wines. I think the trend is going to continue – it’s a promising market.”