Branded Champagne enjoys strong growth

Sales of branded Champagne grew 4.7% to £196 million in the UK off-trade in 2014 as shoppers opted for famous names ahead of retailer exclusives.

The Nielsen figures for the year to January 3, 2015, show that private label was down 3.6% and retailer exclusives dropped 1% despite aggressive price slashing from supermarkets trying to drive footfall.

Moet & Chandon continues to lead the way, with sales up 9% to £43 million. Second-placed Lanson grew 14% to £30 million, while Veuve Cliquot was up 6% to £28 million and Nicolas Feuillatte jumped 12% to £20 million.

Bolinger, Laurent Perrier and Mumm all enjoyed growth, but it was a bad year for Taittinger, down 5%, and Heidsieck Monopole and Piper Heidsieck, down 26% and 21% respectively.

But while overall Champagne grew narrowly in value from £315 million to £318 million, volumes were down slightly, and its performance was eclipsed by other sparkling wine.

Volumes grew 25% in 2014, and value sales were also up 25% to £578 million.

This was driven by Prosecco, with Italian sparkling wine sales up 61%. Cava struggled, with sales of Spanish sparkling wine down 9.3%.

Paul Beavis, UK managing director for UK at Champagne Lanson, which compiled the report featuring the Nielsen figures, said: “We welcome new sparkling labels entering the 'bubbles category' especially as our findings reveal, it hasn't been at the expense of Champagne.

“Customers come into the category through Prosecco as an entry level and evolve over time, as their palate matures into Champagne as their drink of choice, especially for those every day special moments. And, with this renewed understanding about the quality aspect of Champagne; customers purchase Champagne through taste as their interest in quality becomes more prominent.”

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