Champagne’s future markets: #10 Africa

One can’t help but feel sometimes that a little too much attention and excitement is falling on those new kids on the block, the oft-referenced markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

ChampagneLike someone fallen head over heels with a new lover, the trade seems to have focused the majority of its energies and attention on these new and exciting places and, like many a newly love-struck fool, is quite blind to their (sometimes considerable) faults.

Rising they may be, but is it possible that other – perhaps more suitable – markets are being overlooked?

This is a point of view put forward by the director of communication at the Comité Champagne, Thibaut le Mailloux, who says: “I think that in 2013 it is definitely going to be interesting to look at a number of markets beyond the BRICs.”

Rabobank recently published a report which, in its way, warned the trade not to forget what it termed “gem markets”, such as Poland, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico in the rush to court China. They may not be as immediately glamorous as China, but to neglect them now will leave producers struggling to play catch-up in the future.

Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness research analyst, Stephen Rannekleiv, states: “Wine companies are now facing the question of what to do with these four hidden gems. Although they present opportunities, each has a very different market with much uncertainty for traditional branded wine companies.

“The flip side is that early exposure to nascent markets gives a company hard-won experience and expertise as well as a head start on the competition that will likely emerge as the markets develop. Wine companies that manage these opportunities correctly have a chance at securing long-term profitable growth.”

Of course, Champagne must work on developing the BRICs for exactly the reasons stated above. As Hugues le Marié, Americas and Western Europe regional director of Champagnes for Pernod Ricard, says: “Our view is that we should consolidate our position in the key BRIC markets first before looking to the other developing markets – more could be less if we expand too fast without initially investing enough there. We should not forget that a lot of ground work is still to be done to consolidate the position of our Champagne brands.”

But the real question still remains, are the BRICs really are as integral to Champagne’s future as everyone keeps insisting or should some of them be considered as more important when taken as part of their wider respective regions?

Listed here, in ascending order, are 10 markets and market blocs that are destined to have the greatest impact on Champagne’s future.

This article was first published in the drinks business Trends Report 2012. N.B. At the time of going to press, all figures were the latest from the CIVC and cover the year 2011 in full.

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