Bubbly sales set to go flat in 2013

Champagne sales will be flat in 2013, according to an expert from the Reims Management School.

In his annual market forecast Dr Steve Charters said Champagne is a reliable indicator of the state of the economy, and that the economy is flatlining.

He said: “Sales of Champagne can be directly measured against changes in consumption and they are currently reflected by the economic crisis in the eurozone.

“As with all previous crises which have seen poor sales, the question is how long this crisis will last.

“The 2008 recession was quite short thanks largely to Asia propping up the rest of the world economy. Following this logic, the Champagne industry had the good intuition to target Asia’s emerging markets.

“However, Champagne is still highly dependent on developments within Europe and it is there that the answer will be found. How long will the downturn in Europe last? None of us has a crystal ball, but considering what we have seen in 2012, it is unlikely that Europe will see any growth in 2013.

“The Champagne market will not recover before 2014 or 2015.

“Looking back, the poor sales of 2012 are far from over and even suggest the figures resembling those of 1991.”

Charters believes Champagne’s long-term prospects depend on its ability to adapt to a “succession of crises:.

He said: “Champagne makers know they must diversify their exports, which explains the development of emerging economy markets.

“But not all Champagne makers are able to diversify enough and a number of them will have to find a way to improve their European sales.

“In this case, the image of Champagne tends to deteriorate gradually in these markets while other sparkling wines are upsold.

“In the long-term, we could very well imagine the emergence of a competitor, one that would necessitate the Champagne industry to change the way it operates.”

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