Strength in numbers

The Italian cooperatives have weathered 2020 with a total increase in turnover of one percent. However, the companies are developing very differently.

Among the ten largest cooperatives in Italy, Caviro is the company with the largest growth in the past year
Among the ten largest cooperatives in Italy, Caviro is the company with the largest growth in the past year

Under the umbrella organisation Alleanza Cooperative Agroalimentare, 423 cooperatives with a joint business volume of €4.9 billion are united in the wine sector. Together, they make up 58 percent of Italy's total production. Nomisma-Wine Monitor's analysis is based on data collected from wineries of various sizes, which together generate 51 percent of the cooperatives' total turnover. 

The fragile increase of one percent can be attributed to the increase in sales in food retail (+6%, IRI data, 2021) and export (+3%). Sales fell for 41 percent of cooperatives, 34 percent managed to keep sales stable, and a quarter generated growth. 
The overall figure, however, is mainly due to the growth of the large structures. If results are divided into two categories – businesses with a turnover above and businesses with a turnover below €25 million – it becomes clear: 47 percent of the wineries below the threshold had losses, while only 24 percent above the threshold reported losses. Of the business that experienced losses, 27 percent of the smaller ones had to cope with losses of more than 15 percent, whereas only six percent of the larger ones were affected. Growth was generated by 30 percent of the stronger structures, but also by 23 percent of those under €25 million. The two units are very close to each other in terms of growth of over 15 percent: six per cent for the wineries with the larger turnover and five percent for the others. 

Horeca crashes, export above level. Regardless of size, 95 percent of the cooperative wineries have seen slumps in the on-trade and sharp declines (-44%) in wholesale and retail. The Italian market loses 13 percent in the overall picture, but the gap between businesses below and above the €25 million turnover threshold is wide. 

"Above" makes 92 percent plus in food retail, grows 100 percent online, loses seven percent in direct sales and 37 percent in wholesale and retail. "Under" only manages 31 percent growth in food retailing and 65 in e-commerce, but slumps by 26 percent in direct sales and by 58 percent in wholesale and retail. The online sector accounts for just under one percent of sales overall, with the lion's share accounted for by food retailing at 59 percent. 

The associations are particularly proud of the development of the export business. While Italy's total export value has dropped by 2.4 percent, the cooperatives have increased by three percent, despite the difficulties in the bulk wine trade. But this is entirely thanks to the structures with a business result of over €25 million, which were able to counter the 43 percent decline in "under" with a 25 percent increase. 

Wine Monitor has analysed the shares of the various foreign markets. Sales to the main international customers – the USA, Germany and the UK – fell by 48, 55 and 29 percent respectively for the smaller cooperative wineries, while their colleagues with sales of over €25 million were able to keep their results stable in the USA and the UK and even increase them by seven percent in Germany. 

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