Champagne shipments to the UK grew 4.5% by volume in 2015 – three times the rate of growth for the world as a whole, new figures have revealed.
The UK has been the world’s largest export market for Champagne since 1996
The figures confirm the UK as the world’s largest Champagne export market – a position the country has held unbroken since 1996 and which it has conceded only four times since 1985.
Value grew by 7.3% over the same period, the Comité Champagne data revealed. The director of the Champagne Bureau in the UK, Françoise Peretti, said that this, rather than volume, was the driving force behind the Champagne market.
“The focus for everyone in Champagne is value, not volume. Champagne growers and houses understand the precious heritage of which they are the keepers, and they will spare no effort to conserve and enhance it.”
The drinks business reported in February how global Champagne shipments have reached a new record in value, at €4.75 billion – described by Bruno Paillard, president of Comité Champagne’s communication commission, as “huge”.
Paillard ascribed the rise in value to an increase in Champagne prices – “which is mandatory because of the increase in the price of grapes” – as well as “the excellent performance of the LVMH group”, owner of Champagne’s two biggest brands, Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.
The 2015 turnover figure exceeded the previous record of €4.56bn, set in 2007, prior to the global financial slowdown.
Globally, volume sales increased by almost 2% to 312.5m bottles in 2015, the Comité Champagne said.
Peretti said that Champagne’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage site last July was as a key development for Brand Champagne in 2015. The landmark accolade was a “powerful symbol of Champagne’s historic status”, Peretti said, and represented “a stimulus to action that unites the Champagne community in a common mission”.
“This is not just an encouragement to tourism in the region – though tourism will doubtless benefit: this is a monument to all dimensions of Champagne’s uniqueness and a pointer to the actions that will be deployed to guarantee its future,” she added.
The drinks business reported last week how Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, had taken over the presidency of the region’s Unesco project following the death of the orchestrator of the campaign, Pierre Cheval, in January.
On top of the new data for the UK market, figures sent to db by the Comité Champagne in February revealed that the French market, which has been in decline for the past three years, stabilised in 2015 at 162m bottles.
Champagne sales volumes for EU countries other than France were up 3.3% in 2015 to 80.2m bottles.