Champagne sales soar as Brits find cause for celebration

15 September, 2020

UK retailers enjoyed soaring sales of Champagne and sparkling wine as the country basked in warm weather during the four weeks to September 5.

The overall beers, wines and spirits category grew 15%, according to Nielsen till scan figures, while ice cream sales were up 18% amid a record-breaking heatwave.

Champagne was the star performer, with sales up 24%, and sparkling wine grew by 17% compared to the same period in 2019.  

Off-trade BWS sales have grown exponentially this year due to on-trade closures. However, Champagne and sparkling wine proved the exception to the rule. Consumers had little to celebrate, causing fizz sales to nosedive.

That trend came to a spectacular end in August, as shoppers finally found cause for celebration. The lockdown was significantly eased, Covid-19 deaths plunged and al fresco dining swept across the nation.

UK supermarket sales finally began to stabilise, with growth of just 5.3% in the four weeks to September 5, but alcoholic beverage sales remained extremely robust. Around two-thirds of pubs and bars in the UK have reopened, but many consumers are sticking to off-trade purchases and online shopping.

Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “The growth of online shopping continues to put pressure on stores, with grocery spend at bricks and mortar stores falling again, by almost 2%.

“Whilst there are still shoppers trying online for the first time, the growth of online is now being driven by bigger spends and more transactions. This continued growth in online over the last 12 weeks reflects increased capacity as supermarkets respond to shopper demand and continue to improve efficiencies in the delivery network.”

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