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Prosecco phenomenon now lifting all sparkling sales

Published:  25 May, 2018

Rather than cannibalising other sparkling wine sales, Prosecco has been so successful in attracting consumers into the category that it is now acting as a “gateway” to other styles of fizz.

This was a key finding at the UK Wine Trends Briefing at the London Wine Fair, hosted by drinks trade analyst IWSR, where the latest market figures showed strong growth across the board, with the marked exception of Champagne.

Of the main sparkling sub-categories, Prosecco continued on a slightly slower upward trajectory than of past, with sales rising 17.9% over 2016-2017, with Asti up by 5.1%, France’s collective Cremants up 7.6%, and the UKs home-grown fizz up 6.3%.

Over the same period, Champagne continued to suffer from a fall in sales, dropping off more than 8%, as consumers turn to cheaper and less overtly conspicuous styles of sparkling wine as part of their everyday drinking repertoire.

For comparison, Asti sales rose to 504,000 9L cases in 2017, with Cremant at 411,000 9L cases, and English Sparkling wine – typically selling at a high entry level price – up to 310,000 9L cases.

“Prosecco continues to drive the category, but it is not cannibalising other sparking wines, it is instead acting as a gateway for consumers to come in and then try other styles,” said Adam Zdan-Michajlowicz, research analyst at IWSR.

While Prosecco continues to sell well, the growth of typically higher priced Cremants, and also English spearkling wines, which sit at a price tier a couple of steps up again, corresponds with other findings at the Briefing on the trend towards premiumisation, which is most notable at price points that are a step up from those at and just above entry level.

The sub-categories of sparkling wine, it would appear, are now beginning to operate as more of a ladder, encouraging the consumer in and then providing the choice to allow trading up as and when the occasion demands.