US drinkers seek the sophistication of sparkling wine

US drinkers seek the sophistication of sparkling wine

Champagne and sparkling wines have room for significant global growth despite the economic downturn, a new study claims. 

The TNS survey, released yesterday (16 August), says the segment's share of total drinking occasions could grow from 5.1% to 7.8% if all those who wanted to drink it were able to do so. The share in developing markets such as India and China could even quadruple, the survey said.

The study, which surveyed 37,000 people in 17 markets, showed increased spending among sparkling wine drinkers. It also revealed there is an opportunity for manufacturers to entice new drinkers in the developing world, away from other sectors.

"While we can see a huge worldwide appetite to drink more sparkling wine and Champagne, most people are still held back by cost,” said TNS researcher Jan Hofmeyr.

“These drinks are perceived as indulgences, enjoyed mainly on special occasions. The good news for winemakers is that people consider sparkling wines both taste better and offer greater enjoyment than other alcoholic drinks. 

“So, if affordable sparkling wines can be made more accessible and be positioned as a drink for celebrating life rather than only special occasions, the sector has a sparkling future.”

If winemakers followed this advice, the US market could grow from 3.5% of all drinks to 6% as consumers look for the taste and sophistication Champagne and sparkling wine affords, the survey said.

India could increase its share from 0.4% to 1.9% while China has room to grow from 0.7% to 2.5%, it said.

Of the 17 markets, only Spain (-0.4%) indicated that its consumption of Champagne and sparkling wine compared to other sectors will fall.

Hofmeyr added: “Manufacturers of other alcoholic drinks should take note, as they will need to build loyalty and commitment to ensure their own market share is not affected by this desire to drink more fizz.” 

A just-drinks survey in May showed that UK winemakers continue to be pessimistic about the sector's future.