The company has found that 13 million people currently buy lower-alcohol wines and a further 5 million say they might try them – but 10 million people say they will not buy them.
Wine Intelligence chief operating officer Richard Halstead predicted that the government would create a new tax band for wines up to 8.5% abv, but warned that that would mean duty on higher alcohol wines would be ramped up.
He also forecast that retailers would devote around 10% of shelf space to lower-alcohol wines, which would be marketed in dedicated zones.
“Sub-11% abv wines will grow to 7 million cases by 2020 – about 6% of off-trade sales by volume,” he said.
Sainsbury’s BWS head Andy Phelps, speaking at the London wine fair briefing at which Halstead made the predictions, said the supermarket has committed to doubling sales of wine up to 10.5% abv by 2020.
“They have already grown by 14% in the past year,” he said.
Sainsbury’s is also working on making its alcoholic strength labelling clear and is cutting the abv of its own-label ranges.