Champagne sales more balanced than ever before

Sales of Champagne worldwide are “more balanced” than ever before with 30 markets now consuming over 0.5m bottles annually.

More balanced than ever before: France now accounts for 50% of Champagne sales by volume, with another 25% of shipments going to Europe and the final 25% to the ‘rest of the world’

Following the release of Champagne’s official shipment figures for 2017 on Sunday 18 at ProWein, it is clear that the spread of medium-sized markets for the fizz is greater than ever before, ensuring a strong foundation for future growth, but also, importantly, a better protection for the product against falling demand in its largest and most traditional areas of consumption – France and the UK.

As a result, when considering the global spread of sales for the famous sparkling wine, Jean-Marie Barillère, who is president of the UMC (Union des Maisons de Champagne), told db during an exclusive interview in ProWein last month that the demand for Champagne was now at its broadest.

In terms of volume, he said that France had represented 65% of sales 30 years ago, but today accounts for 50%, with another 25% of shipments going to Europe and the final 25% to the ‘rest of the world’.

Such analysis prompted him to say, “So Champagne is much more balanced than it used to be”.

Continuing, having observed the increasing rate of consumption in Asian markets, as well as Australia and the US, while noting declining sales in Champagne’s two largest markets by volume, France and the UK, he said that the trend towards a more balanced global market for the fizz would endure.

“And I think in the future it will be more balanced,” he added.

Offering further proof of Champagne’s increasingly global base of demand, Vincent Perrin, who is managing director of the Comité Champagne, noted the rise in the number of nations who are buying more than 0.5m bottles each year.

“There are now 30 markets with over 500,000 bottles, which is really good news for the resilience of Champagne,” he recorded.

As previously reported by db, shipments of Champagne during the 12-month period to the end of 2017, were up 0.4% to total 307.3m bottles.

Although this was not a record in volume, it did represent a new high for Champagne in terms of value, with 2017’s shipments representing  €4.9bn, €164m more than 2016’s total of €4.710m, and a number greater than the region’s previous high, which was in 2015, when it reached €4.75bn.

While exports of Champagne to markets outside Europe were in growth, shipments to countries within Europe were in slight decline during 2017, particularly the UK market which saw an 11% drop in volume, while sales of Champagne in its domestic market were down 2.5%.

Driving down sales of Champagne in the UK specifically has been a fall-off in demand for retailer exclusive and own-label Champagnes sold on discount, although the consumption of strong brands has held up well in the market.

Such a trend prompted Barillère to suggest that the trend in the UK may be good for Champagne in the longer term.

“The UK [consumer] is buying more branded Champagne and fewer retailer brands, and so, for the value and image of Champagne, it is much better,” he said.

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