Champagne to reach new turnover record for 2021
Total Champagne turnover for 2021 is expected to reach a new record of €5.5 billion, 10% higher than its previous peak in 2019.
According to an article in Reuters last month, the €5.5bn forecast for the past year comes from Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC), who said that the demand for Champagne in 2021 had been great enough to create a shortage, albeit a short term one.
Indeed, a combination of Champagne price increases due to a supply shortfall, and a general move by consumers towards premium brands and higher-priced cuvées as the pandemic threat eases, has culminated in this predicted new high for the French sparkling wine region.
Such has been the value growth in Champagne over the past year, its turnover for 2021 is expected to be up by around 38% on its total for 2020, when the initial shock of the pandemic brought the value down to around €4bn, which was a drop of around 20% on the region’s high of €5bn in 2019.
As reported by db towards the end of last year, although it seems counterintuitive, the uncertain Covid-era has actually moved Champagne upmarket.
That’s because the pandemic may have seen consumers drink less Champagne, but when they do, the quality has been higher, with sales of rosé fizz and prestige cuvées outstripping that of Brut NV, although these more specialist expressions are made on a much smaller scale.
Among the Brut NV Champagnes, the bedrock of the region’s global sales with around 80% of volume, Covid-related restrictions have speeded up a shift towards consumers buying brands with a strong reputation, and away from generic Champagne.
“Non-brands have suffered more,” said Champagne Philipponnat’s Charles Philipponnat, when talking to db about sales during the pandemic-induced downturn, before adding: “And special cuvées and vintage Champagne have not suffered at all, so the quality of Champagne has increased.”
Such a development explains the forecast record turnover figure, when shipments by volume, although predicted to have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels of around 305m bottles by the end of 2021, are still some way off their peak of almost 340m bottles, which was reached in 2007.