Two Oceans across four oceans

Monday, 15 March, 2004
Tessa de Kock for Two Oceans
Defying the undertow of diminished consumer spending
Two Oceans is set on tackling all four of the world’s oceans, mounting its global reach and swelling sales in established and new markets.

Taking its name from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans that meet at the southern Cape of the country, the brand has defied many international brands caught in the undertow of diminished consumer spending in the aftermath of the Iraqi-conflict and a growing wine glut, to show a robust 36% volume growth for the 12 months to January 2004, compared with the previous year.

'Interestingly', says Robyn Steer, who is responsible for the worldwide marketing of the brand, 'growth has been a feature of all key markets.

‘In South Africa, where wine sales on the whole have been fairly muted, the brand’s popularity is undiminished. Its relaxed, laid-back, living-in-the-moment image is very appealing. Consumers enjoy that it is targeted at sensualists, people who like to get beach sand between their toes, who’ll drop everything when the surfing is right to catch the perfect wave or who make a big thing of watching the sunset. They love that the wines are easy-drinking, uncomplicated but lively and very versatile, so you can comfortably have them at home, in trendy cafés, at the poolside, in bars and bistros.

‘And this is true for foreign markets too, with Two Oceans on a roll in markets as varied as Scandinavia, Cyprus and Singapore. But the most dramatic growth has been in countries like Canada, Sweden and Ireland, and most recently in the US, a still new terrain, where a listing as one of the top value wines in the widely read US publication Wine Enthusiast, certainly hasn’t hurt. (The 2001 Shiraz made position 22 on the magazine’s list of the top 100 best value wines for 2003.)'

The Canadian achievement is perhaps the most impressive given that more Two Oceans is sold here than anywhere else in the world, including South Africa. The brand showed a 55% rise in sales, from an already high base, comfortably maintaining its status as South African frontrunner.

Exports to Sweden, another very well established market, have been dramatic, with sales more than doubling. Steer points to the runaway success of the 3-litre bag-in-box format in Scandinavia, a favourite of consumers all year round. In summer, this pack can account for as much as 65% of sales.

Whatever the packaging format, Two Oceans has caught the imagination of northern Europe, with sales to Denmark rising 23% and to Iceland, 29%.

From the big to the small, Two Oceans seems to fit the bill. In Ireland, where sales increased 19%, it is the 187-ml pub size that’s a real drawcard.

And in Latin America the brand is starting to move, as is the case in newer Asia Pacific markets like China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam and India. It’s still too early to reflect comparative figures but the potential is definitely there, says Steer. In India, for example, the outsourcing boom that has seen many multinationals shift their call centre and back office functions off-shore, is feeding a burgeoning middle class that’s zooming in on wine. Its relatively low alcohol content and Western stylishness make it very desirable. Although national consumption is still fairly low at 3,5 million bottles a year, according to BBC News, it’s growing at 20% annually and Two Oceans plans to be a part of the action.

Two Oceans is represented here by Rajeev Samant, managing director of Sula Vineyards, one of India’s three big wineries. Samant, a former Silicon Valley engineer, began producing wine in India six years ago, recognizing that his countrymen provided an enormous untapped market. He currently produces 500 000 bottles of his own wine a year and now carries a small selection of foreign labels.

Steer is confident that Two Oceans’ enduring value proposition, its hallmark accessibility and distinctive flavours, the flexibility of packaging formats, its extensive marketing and distribution network, plus a readily recognizable name, will see it continue to keep cresting, countering the impact of a stronger rand.