New Year boost for bubbly?
December 31, 2021 - Although pandemic restrictions will mute New Year celebrations, the champagne industry hopes to return to pre-crisis sales levels as millions of people welcome 2022 with bubbly.
In the wake of the pandemic, annual global sales fell by 16%, from a record €5.0 billion in 2019 to €4.2 billion in 2020. France exports more than half (53.6%) of total production.
In 2020, exports fell by 13.3% to €2.6 billion. However, the champagne industry group Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) believes its future is likely brighter than was feared in the early pandemic months.
Jean-Marie Barillere, president of the UMC, expects sales of 315 million bottles this year, representing a turnover of €5.5 billion.
“The pandemic has created new consumer habits,” Barillere said. “Everything related to entertaining at home is in high demand, including champagne.”
Strong exports, especially to English-speaking countries, are a significant factor for a bumper year, Barillere added.
The United Kingdom is the leading market for Champagne exports in volume; however, the United States takes first place in export value. In 2020, the U.S. imported over €501 million worth of champagne, while exports to the UK amounted to €338.23 million.
2021 saw a fall in supplies after severe spring frosts followed by summer rains wreaked havoc on French vineyards. The resulting harvest losses of as much as a third led to supply chain breakdowns. According to marketing research firm Nielsen, by November, champagne was showing out-of-stock levels, driving demand in French supermarkets. “It’s been huge and so unexpected,” Barillere said.