• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Champagne loses its fizz as Covid pandemic hits sales


Demand Champagne fell globally last year, with sales tumbling as the pandemic forced drinking venues to close and celebratory events were put on ice.

Producers group CIVC said on Tuesday that sales of bubbly dropped 18% in 2020 by volume and the pandemic would continue to weigh on demand in the first half of this year, although the extent of last year’s decline was less than initially forecast and there was some year-end cheer.

France and key export outlets Britain and the United States each saw a 20% drop in champagne volume sales in 2020, while Japan, another major market, registered a steeper 28% decline, CIVC said.

Accoryto Reuters, Australia was a bright spot, with volumes exported there rising 14%.

Total sales of champagne fell to 245 million bottles in 2020, from almost 300 million in 2019. In value terms, provisional estimates put 2020 sales down around 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion) at some 4 billion euros, CIVC said.

In the wake of initial lockdowns to contain the novel coronavirus, the group had projected annual sales volumes would fall by about a third and value sales by 1.7 billion euros.

In view of the better volumes than previously expected, the CIVC said producers had agreed to release from their reserves 400 kilos per hectare of grapes, to complement the 8,000 kg/ha harvested last year.

The year-end holiday period saw some pickup in demand, CIVC said.

British supermarket retailers reported brisk demand for champagne and other festive specialities in December, while in France supermarket sales of champagne rose sharply according to market analyst Nielsen.