Champagne exports to the UK jumped in 2015

Champagne exports to the UK jumped in 2015

The UK strengthened its position as the world's largest Champagne export market last year, increasing shipments by three-times the rate of global growth.

Champagne volumes to the UK in 2015 grew 4.5% compared to 1.7% growth globally, according to new figures today from the Comité Champagne. Value sales growth was even stronger, at 7.3%.

The US remained in second place by volume, while Germany was third.

The UK has long been the leading export market for Champagne, topping the rankings continuously for 20 years. However, in the past few years, Prosecco growth has far outstripped Champagne's as consumers are attracted to the Italian sparkling wine's lower price point. According to 12-month IRI off-trade figures released last year, Champagne increased sales by just 1.2% in the UK with volumes dipping by 0.4%. In the same period, Prosecco sales jumped by 72% while volumes increased by 79%.

UK Champagne Bureau director Françoise Peretti said Champagne Houses are focusing on value as they fight to retain their high-value margins. "Champagne growers and Houses understand the precious heritage of which they are the keepers, and they will spare no effort to conserve and enhance it," Peretti said.

Today's UK growth is good news for Champagne. However, a report in December forecast that the global Champagne market will only return to the level of its 2011 record high in 2018.