Visitor numbers at this year’s London Wine Fair were down on 2023 – but organisers have claimed success in a primary goal to improve the quality of visitors.

The total number of visitors was 9,243, down 8% on 2023, but the visitor-to-exhibitor ratio was strong, according to fair organisers, with 23 visitors to each exhibitor. 

It claimed this was around four times higher than the event’s biggest competitors.

The fair also claimed that a spike in visitors who used its Essential Planner online tool was evidence of better visitor quality. This increased from 12% in 2023 to 41% this year.

Exhibitor numbers were down slightly, from 417 to 401.

The off-trade accounted for 22% of visitors, up 1% from last year.

Head of fair Hannah Tovey said: “Despite these challenging times, we have had overwhelmingly positive exhibitor feedback, thanks to delivering a truly excellent and innovative event, which has reinforced London Wine Fair as unmissable for the serious players. 

“The energy at Olympia from those participating was palpable. Business was being done with everyone from the national multiples to Michelin-star restaurants, regional wholesalers and independent retailers. 

“Of course, we would like to see more of the leading UK agents back on the trading floor. This is something our industry leaders have vocalised too as essential in restoring the UK wine industry to robust health. We are already working hard to achieve this for 2025.”

Patrick McGrath MW, chief executive of Hatch Mansfield, said: “It’s been a really, really good three days. As good as last year, better probably. 

“We’ve had a great mix of people: independents; national retail; national on-trade; fine wine merchants; travel retail. 

“I continue to be amazed that some of our competitors aren’t here.”

Justin Liddle, managing director of Mentzendorff, added: “We have hugely enjoyed the overall vibe of the fair.”