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Monday 18 March 2019

Has Australia fallen out of love with Champagne?

Is Australia's decade-long love affair with Champagne cooling off? 

After volume growth of 134% over the past decade, Australian sales of Champagne fell last year by 1.8% to 8.4 million bottles, according to figures revealed at the annual press conference of the Comité Champagne, which took place at ProWein in Düsseldorf, Germany.

But much of the reduction can be put down, in part, to a less favourable exchange rate. 

Globally, Champagne volumes were also down last year (-1.8% to 301.9 million bottles), with France and the UK, which account for 60% of total sales, responsible for most of the decline. 

Overall exports are on an upward trajectory (+0.6% in volume and +1.8% in revenue) and despite total volume falling, last year’s total turnover for Champagne set a new record of close to €4.9 billion (+0.3% compared with 2017).

Demand is most dynamic beyond the European Union, particularly in markets further afield such as the USA, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

The Comité, the trade body that represents the interests of Champagne producers, said the 2018 results validated the value-creation strategy of the Champagne region “based on a continual pursuit of exceptional quality and rigorous environmental targets.”

With Australian Champagne sales down 6.4% in value, Comité co-president Jean-Marie Barillère told The Shout  industry newsletter he has not confident that 2019 would see a return to the incredible growth of recent years.

“I don’t know because the increase in volume of Champagne in Australia has been tremendous over the last 10 years,” he told The Shout. “Now maybe we’ll have some consolidation. But when you consider the population of Australia, we’re not doing too badly.”

Australia remains Champagne’s sixth-largest export market by volume.

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