The London Wine Fair organisers have said 26% of those who attended this year’s show did so for the first time, as a direct result of the “significant investment” in data management and a refreshed marketing strategy.

LWF 2018 saw a 17% uplift in visitors overall and 465 companies took stands, an increase of 13% compared with 2017. Of the 465 companies who took stands, 32% had not previously exhibited.

Of the visitors the largest sector represented was the on-trade (30%), while importers represented 14% of the audience and independent merchants 10%.

Many of those responsible for buying said they no longer just looked after wine; 46% of visitors said they also had responsibility for buying spirits and 39% said beer. The launch of the new feature areas at LWF 2018 – such as Drinks Britannia and Innovation Zone – tapped into the greater breadth of categories buyers are now looking for, according to the fair organisers.

Hannah Tovey, head of fair, said: “From the outset, we worked towards delivering a larger visitor audience, with a strong focus on those with real buying power. The fact that more than a quarter of the audience was new demonstrates that the refreshed format with new feature areas really dialled up the relevance of the Fair to a greater number of trade professionals.

“We are now looking to build on the success of this, the new team’s first show, to make 2019 an unmissable event for both exhibitors and visitors alike. We will be sharing our vision for 2019 over the coming months, which will include refreshed approach to both the visitor and exhibitor experience.”

The London Wine Fair 2019 will take place at Olympia on May 20 to 22.