Top 30 most popular online retailers unveiled for 2019

Naked Wines has retained its title as the UK’s most popular online drinks retailer when it comes to monthly searches.

A new report from search engine strategy firm Salience Search Marketing shows that it receives an average of 201,000 searches per month.

That represents a 21.8% rise on the 165,000 searches it was receiving a year ago, and puts it well ahead of closest competitors bargainbooze.co.uk, which received 60,500 searches, and laithwaites.co.uk, which generated 49,500 searches on average.

It caps a strong trading period for Naked Wines, which just revealed that its UK business enjoyed 12.2% year-on-year growth in the 10 weeks to December 31.

“The team have worked really hard over the Christmas trading period and have delivered sales growth across all our business units,” said founder and chief executive Rowan Gormley.

Salience Search Marketing assigned each online retailer an “owned social score” depending on how strong its social media offering is. It took this into account, along with each retailer’s searches per month, to create a chart of the top 30 online retailers in the UK for brand reach.

Naked Wines is on top, with Bargain Booze second and Fortnum & Mason third, although that retailer is clearly focused more than simply drinks.

Master of Malt took fourth place, followed by The Whisky Exchange and Majestic, which is part of the same group as Naked Wines and also run by Gormley.

Laithwaites was seventh, malts.com was eighth, Virgin Wines was ninth and The Wine Society rounded out the top 10. Virgin Wines also recently reported strong sales growth, further highlighting the strength of the UK online wine retailing scene.

Salience ranked Adnams as the 11th best retailer for online brand reach, for its online cellar and kitchen offering. Beerwulf was next in the list, with Berry Bros’ & Rudd in 13th, followed by Honest Brew, Beer Hawk, Whisky Shop, Flavourly, 31Dover, Waitrose Cellar and Drink Supermarket.

Oddbins’ ecommerce proposition was 21st, followed by Beer Merchants, Tanners Wine, Wine Direct, Loch Fyne Whiskies, Drinks Direct, Slurp, Clos 19, VIP Bottles and finally Liquor Online in 30th.

The five retailers with the best social score from Salience are, in order, The Whisky Exchange, Fortnum & Mason, 31Dover, Bargain Booze and Master of Malt.

Social scores consider followers and engaged conversations on all major social platforms. The top five are said to have a strong following, creating engagement through content and product campaigns.

When it comes to link authority, Master of Malt is top of the pile, followed by The Whisky Exchange, Fortnum & Mason, BBR and Laithwaites.

Salience Search Marketing highlighted Adnams, Oddbins, Waitrose Cellar, Beer Hawk and Roberson Wine as having a low volume of high quality referrals on a monthly basis.

Those retailers are advised to scale that activity to successfully compete.

Meanwhile, Drink Supermarket, Whisky Shop, Virgin Wines, Loch Fyne Whiskies and Drinks Direct are said to have a high volume of low quality referrals each month.

Consistently gaining a low quantity of high-authority links could show that a brand has the right link-building foundations in place, but needs to work on scaling that activity to successfully compete in their marketplace, said Salience.

When it comes to increasing visibility year-on-year, The Drink Shop, 31Dover, Virgin Wines, Beer Hawk and the Sunday Times’ online wine club are the five big winners. The five losers are Fortnum & Mason, Urban Drinks, Master of Malt, Adnams and Calais Wine, according to Salience.

“The top five have successfully grown with the market,” it said. “In some cases they’ve even exceeded market growth. Even if the bottom five have increased visibility year-on-year, their market share has taken a pounding. Blame the top five.”

Finally, it highlighted 10 underperforming sites. According to the Salience team, five high visibility sites with low authority are Beer Hawk, Tanners, Clos 19, Wine Direct and Urban Drinks. “These brands could benefit most from a more expansive search marketing campaign,” it said. “Things are looking good technically, and a strategic content marketing campaign is likely to yield positive results.”

Five high authority sites with low visibility are Adnams, Drinks Direct, Beer Merchants, Vintage Wine Gifts and Slurp. “These brands could benefit most from resolving their on-site tech and structural issues. Identification of those problems, and dealing with them in a priority order should be in their sites,” it said.

Read the full report here.

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