Champagne sales rise as economy picks up

Sparkling wine and champagne sales are both up in the latest new-look market report from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Sparkling wine was once again the standout category performer over the quarter, up +24% in the off trade and +20% in the on trade. Likewise an increase in Champagne sales, up +9% in the on trade and +6% in the off trade, suggests a continuing of the ‘premiumisation’ trend as consumers move towards higher-priced premium products.

The latest report covers the first full 12 week trading period since the March Budget when the Chancellor scrapped the Alcohol Duty Escalator, froze spirits duty and cut beer duty. Whilst the report has revealed a fall in sales of wine and spirits, the premiumisation trend provides hope that the market may finally be turning the corner.   

Commenting on the latest WSTA market report, WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:  

“Despite disappointing volume growth, the trend towards higher value products in some categories and the growth in premium products like Champagne is an encouraging sign.  

While we are starting to see some benefit from the scrapping of the Alcohol Duty Escalator, it will take time and require sustained support to reverse the impact of six years of duty hikes on the wine and spirit industry, especially on pubs, bars and restaurants. Given the growing importance of wine and spirits to the on trade, further duty relief for all products would provide a significant boost for struggling pubs.”

Off trade

  • Volume and value growth was up 1% over the quarter, largely driven by the impressive rise in sparkling wine sales. Champagne sales were also up +6% over the quarter, the first rise since Q2 2013.

  • Rum was the spirit of choice this summer with quarterly sales up +8% and sales of flavoured/spiced rum rocketing by +34% over the summer.

  • Spurred by the Football World Cup and the 2% duty cut, beer sales were up +3% in the last 12 weeks.

  • Sales of Argentinian wine were up +26% in the last 12 months, while South Africa was the only other top 10 wine country to increase yearly sales, up by +5%.   

On trade

  • Overall, total sales fell -3% in the last 12 months, while growth was flat over the summer quarter with volume sales of beer, wine and spirits all down over the short and long term.

  • Despite flat quarterly growth, value was up by +2%. 

  • Sales of gin were up +5% over the year and 10% in the latest 12 weeks, while sales of rum were up +1% in the short and long-term

Consumer research

  • Of those surveyed, 31% had drunk red wine at home in the last four weeks and 30% had drunk white wine, the two most popular drink types.

  • Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc were consumers’ top three wine varietals.

  • Vodka, gin and whisky/whiskey were the three most popular spirits types.     

The WSTA's market report draws on data from leading independent sources, Nielsen and CGA Strategy, while the consumer research is based on YouGov and WSTA analysis. For the first time, the WSTA has introduced questions on consumers’ favourite wine and spirits varietals to track changes in consumer preferences. The report also includes new data on sales of smaller spirits categories, grape varietals and spirit sales by venue. The report captures off trade data for the 12 weeks to 19 July and on trade data for the 12 weeks to 12 July.

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