In its latest annual report on the sector, based on Nielsen data to February, 2013, the company said the market was worth £320.5 million as volumes slipped 6.6%, while the sparkling sector surged by 10.5% in value, to £405 million, and 7.6% in volume on the back of strong Prosecco and Cava sales.
Paul Beavis, Lanson’s UK managing director, said the biggest fall in the Champagne sector was retailer brands, which commanded £102 million of the market.
Beavis argued that 75% of shoppers felt ranging Champagne by style and taste, like light wine, would be “helpful” to making their selection, with 60%
saying the approach would be the best option over 28% who favoured price being the key denominator.
He said: “Eighty per cent of shoppers say more information about taste at the point of sale would encourage sales.
“The main sector of the market that lost out was retailer brands, which have significantly lower margins. We would all make more money if retailers focused on big brands like they do in still wines.
“Ninety per cent of shoppers know that Champagne tastes differently and they want to choose a style they like without having to guess. This is the biggest growth opportunity for retailers.”
He added that greater effort needed to go into creating more occasions for consumers to buy into Champagne.
“Champagne is seen as a drink of celebration – surely we can create more activity in-store and in packaging inno- vations. We all need to develop added-value solutions.”