Koch, Kristian (2008) Il mercato della grappa in Italia e Germania. [Ph.D. thesis]
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The present study analyzes the grappa market in its two major markets, Italy and Germany. The analysis comprises various aspects, regarding consumer, product, provisioning, communication and distribution.
The first part carries out a hedonic price analysis in the Italian grappa market, utilizing a dataset composed of 15.576 observations of retail chain prices related to transactions which have taken place in Italy in the period 1997-2004, in order to estimate the implicit price of the main product attributes. Results show that particularly bottle format, high alcohol content and brand affect the consumer's willingness-to-pay for grappa. In particular, the Prime Uve variable presents statistically significant, positive estimated coefficients, with high magnitude, which are interpreted as a "fads and fashion effect".
The second part of this thesis analyzes the German market, where grappa has gained popularity only about thirty years ago. This part is subdivided in two sections, the first of which studies the restaurant channel and the second the retail channel.
Today, grappa has a good image in the restaurant channel and is seen as a welcome alternative to other distillates. Quality of good grappa is considered excellent, whilst the risk persists that the presence of inferior quality grappa threatens the image of all grappas. What has to improve considerably is communication, which today is hardly present. Clients confide in the waiter's suggestions when it comes to selecting grappa, underlining their importance in communication efforts.
The retail channel on the other hand shows a much darker picture than that of the restaurant channel, for the majority of grappa sold in this channel is accounted for by discount stores, which certainly do not contribute to an improvement of grappa's image in Germany. Also in other types of retail stores grappa is not well represented, as its shelf positioning is poor and selection is very limited, ranging from two items in supermarkets to less than ten in hypermarkets. The only category where grappa is well represented are department stores, where a good selection is combined with good shelf positioning.
Comparing the Italian market with the German one the following points can be sketched out: Italian consumers prefer bigger bottle formats than their German counterparts. Some grappa types, such as white or aromatized grappa are much better represented in Italy than in Germany, where single variety grappa is more important. In fact, for the German consumer grape variety is the principal characteristic when deciding for a certain grappa, while in Italy grappa brand is imperative. Well-known brands are very few in Germany and amongst the most notorious are some of those brands that inherit their name from famous Italian wines.
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