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Saturday 25 October 2014

Nigeria’s thirst for Champagne explodes

9th May, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

A status symbol obsessed elite in Nigeria has driven the country to become one of the fastest growing markets in the world for Champagne.

A vendor sells Champagne from a roadside shop in Lagos. Credit: APF

A vendor sells Champagne from a roadside shop in Lagos. Credit: AFP

Nigerians spent £38m on Champagne last year, and data analyst Euromonitor forecasts that the country will splash out £68m on Champagne in 2017, with consumption in the west African country predicted to reach 1.1m litres by 2017.

Oil barons, hip-hop music and Nigeria’s thriving movie industry, known as Nollywood, are all driving demand for the French fizz.

“Champagne has its own demographic – it’s not even about the middle class, it’s about the elite,” Spiros Malandrakis, senior analyst at Euromonitor, told AFP.

“Nigeria is a very divided society with big sections of the population in the working class, while the elite have the money to spend on really extravagant consumption,” he added.

Ace of Spades is selling well in Nigeria

Ace of Spades is enjoying increasing success in Nigeria

Prices for Champagne in Nigerian nightclubs can vary widely, with a bottle of Moet & Chandon NV costing around £77, while bottles of Cristal can cost more than £550.

The prestige element of Champagne is an important factor to its allure with Nigeria’s elite, with prestige cuvées proving the most desirable brands.

Rapper Jay-Z’s favourite fizz Armand de Brignac, known as Ace of Spades, is enjoying increasing success in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is one of our fastest growing markets – it’s particularly popular in nightclubs and is frequently used there to mark special occasions like weddings,” Armand de Brignac’s global director of brand communicaitons Yvonne Lardner told the drinks business.

“At the celebrity parties in Lagos they always have Champagne, and it has to be the finest – Cristal, Dom Pérignon – these are important status symbols here,” said Vanessa Walters, editor of Nigerian women’s magazine Genevieve.

“It’s a one-upmanship thing, like showing people that your house is bigger than your neighbour’s,” Walters added.

The value of Nigeria’s wine industry is expected to reach £237m by 2015 and the country was recently picked out by the drinks business as one of Champagne’s most important future markets.

But while Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, 63% on the population live on less than 65p day.

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