1. Asia and Russia to be the next big markets
The BRIC nations are set to play an ever more important role in Champagne’s future. It has been a slow build but Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger said recently that three years ago: “Half of the world were not Champagne consumers before, and 90% of Champagne was drunk in Europe and the US, but now China, Japan, Russia and South America are becoming a vast market.”
China is the hot ticket of the wine world at present but with its predilection for red wines it is worth wondering whether it is perhaps better for the Champenois to concentrate on markets such as Brazil and Russia first. However, as mentioned in the lead feature on wine trends, a growing interest among women for white wine coupled with the Chinese market’s more general expansion away from just Bordeaux – which is happening perhaps a little faster than anyone first thought possible – can only lead to more interest in Champagne, particularly as it is one of the greatest and most famous of wine regions. Moreover, the Asian market continues to develop at an encouraging rate. Although it is growing from a small base, Champagne shipments between 2009 and 2010 rose 89% from 581,221 bottles to 1,103,763.
Brazil and Russia are also emerging as important new markets, albeit both with different mores and with Russia slightly more advanced, certainly in terms of volume and value and also, it appears, in knowledge and interest.
Brazil’s Champagne shipments increased by 63% from 2009 to 2010 from 600,334 bottles to 979,678 bottles, with 97% of the wines coming from grandes marques. Russia is very different: its shipments show a greater spread of interest in the category and, behind China, it is the most important BRIC market. Shipments rose 87.6% between 2009 and 2010, from 574,829 bottles to 1,078,214 bottles. The breakdown shows that although the big houses still account for nearly 92% of the market, growers have nearly 5% and cooperatives 1%. What is more, as regards Russia, prestige cuvées represent 4.7% of the market but 16% of the total value.
This contrast supports the president of Champagne Philipponnat, Charles Philipponnat’s, assertion that: “For now we foresee more growth in Eastern Europe and Asia. South America is still dominated by bigger names while in Asia they are already looking for sophisticated alternatives.”
In a small aside the UK must not be forgotten as a market that will continue to grow and show greater diversity into next year. As can be seen from the various shipment statistics, all the main categories are growing again and as Lanson International’s managing director Paul Beavis notes: “The UK is still number one for export. Other markets are exciting but are growing from a small base so the percentage growth looks very nice. They will continue to grow but we don’t know that they will continue to grow at the same rate so Champagne should never ignore the UK; it’s so important and very mature and consumers are looking for more engagement.”