Champagne sales plummet in UK
Champagne shipments to the UK plummeted in 2013 as Britain struggled to emerge from the economic downturn and consumers opted for cheaper alternatives.
Volume sales were down 5.1% and value sales dropped 3.8%, according to the UK Champagne Bureau.
Director Francoise Peretti said: “The UK Champagne market is typically procyclical, with a pronounced tendency to late reaction. It is not unusual to see the consequences of an economic downturn maybe one or two years after the event.”
Meanwhile sparkling wine excluding Champagne grew 8% in volume and 15% in value to £464 million (Nielsen, year to February 1) in the off-trade.
It commands an average price point of £9.01, whereas Champagne sells for an average of £25.92.
In the on-trade sparkling wine such as Prosecco and Cava grew 11% in volume and 18% in value (CGA, year to January 25).
But despite the dismal trading figures the UK remains the Champagne region’s top export destination.
It exported 136.6 million bottles in 2013, and 30.8 million were shipped to Britain - 72% ahead of the world’s second largest export market, the USA. Exports totalled £371 million.
Peretti added: “The UK has been Champagne’s number one export market for the past 18 years, and that is not about to change.
“Market optimism combined with the tremendous buoyancy we are seeing in the on-trade leaves me in no doubt that the UK will remain number one among Champagne export markets for a very long time to come.”