Sparkling wine continues to perform strongly in the UK

Sparkling wine continues to perform strongly in the UK

Sparkling wine continues to be the star performer in the UK off- and on-trade in 2014, while the flavoured vodka category has endured mixed fortunes, according to latest figures. 

In the off-trade, sales of sparkling wine, not including Champagne, were up 22% to GBP531m (US$830m) in the 12 months to 11 October, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association's (WSTA) latest Market Report showed. Category volumes were up 17% in shops and stores. By contrast, Champagne volumes fell 1%, according to Nielsen figures. 

In the on-trade, sparkling wine saw sales rose 81% to GBP220m in the 12-month period, while volumes climbed 15%. It marks over “two years of sustained growth for the category”, the WSTA noted. Champagne fared better in this channel with sales and volumes up 14% and 4% respectively. 

Sparkling wine and Champagne "continue to be the only categories bucking the trend of volume decline, suggesting consumers may be going out less, but treating themselves when they do", the WSTA said. Prosecco producers said in October they had seen a 27% rise in H1 global export volumes, with the UK the leading market. 

Flavoured vodka enjoyed a strong performance in the UK off-trade, with sales up 20% to GBP40m and volumes up 11%. But in the on-trade, flavoured vodka sales fell 16% in the 12 months to October to GBP76m, while volumes slipped 19%. 

In the whisk(e)y category, imported brands had a strong showing in the off-trade with sales up 15% to GBP214m in the year and volumes climbing 16%. Single malt Scotch saw sales up 5% to GBP170m, but volumes fell 1%. Blended varieties still dominate the whisk(e)y category in volume terms, but fell by 2% in the period.  

In the on-trade, single malts performed best in growth terms, with sales up 18% to GBP140m and volumes climbing 13%, while imported whiskies saw sales rise by 2% to GBP434m and volumes slip 2%. “Malt Scotch is the whisky star”, noted CGA, which compiles the figures for the WSTA. 

In wine, Argentina was the only country of origin to show significant growth in the off-trade. UK sales for the region's wine climbed by 34% to GBP95m, while volumes were up 35% to 124,000 hectolitres, thanks to a strong fourth quarter. Argentina is tenth in volumes terms, with Australia remaining number one ahead of Italy in the UK off-trade. 

In the on-trade, the story was different in the last 12 months, with the number one producer, France, being the only country showing significant growth, with sales up 8% to GBP1.3bn in the year. Argentinian wines suffered in this channel with sales slipping 12% to GBP90m and volumes falling 14% to 54,000 hectolitres. 

Beer sales, which still dominate both channels in volumes terms, remain relatively flat. In the off-trade, sales and volumes were up 2% in the 12 months, while in the on-trade sales grew 1% and volumes fell 3%. 

Last week, the WSTA launched a joint campaign with the Scotch Whisky Association calling on the UK Government to cut wine and spirits duty by 2% in March's Budget

To read a full copy of the latest market report, click here