Prosecco drives soaring UK fizz sales

UK sparkling wine sales shot up by £70 million last year, making it the country’s fastest growing alcoholic drink category.

sparkling wineResearch by Kantar Worldpanel shows a 14.8% value increase – or more than five million extra bottles – in UK off-trade sparkling wine sales during the 52 weeks to 20 July 2014, as the category generated revenue of £541m.

The news echoes a similar report last month by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, which highlighted sparkling wine as the only category to achieve double digit growth in the UK last year.

Meanwhile the UK on-trade is also benefiting from this sparkling trend, with CGA Strategy reporting growth of 14% in the 12 months to May 2014.

Commenting on the current success of this category, Kevan Mulcahey, head of alcohol at Kantar Worldpanel, explained: “Shoppers are looking for something a bit special to treat themselves, and sparkling wine is a luxury product with an affordable price tag.”

Noting that “shoppers are trading up from Cava to Prosecco and Prosecco to Champagne,” Mulcahey emphasised that not all sparkling categories were enjoying the same uplift.

“Cava’s growth has gone flat with sales only growing by 0.1%,” he reported, “whereas the more premium option, Prosecco, has enjoyed a 74.6% surge in sales over the past year alone”.

As a result, observed Mulcahey, “many retailers have cottoned on to this shift towards more premium alcoholic beverages and now stock high-quality own-label sparkling wines, making them very competitive options.”

This off-trade uplift ties in with the growing consumer trend for drinking sparkling wine at home. With 40% of shoppers saying that they had bought sparkling wine in the past year, Kantar indicated that 13% of the category’s volume is now accounted for by couples having a night in.

Among those retailers benefiting the most are the discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl, where sparkling wine sales rose by 25.4% in the last year.

Another sector showing particularly strong growth is online. While total alcoholic drink e-commerce sales rose by nearly a quarter last year, sparkling wine outperformed even this rise with a sales increase of 60.6%.

A detailed look at the UK sparkling wine market will appear in November’s issue of the drinks business.

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