Recently, the Italian Wine Economy Watch Committee (Ovse-Ceves) revealed that the Italian sparkling wine industry will face huge challenges in 2020 after years of high growth. Although the export value and volume of Italian sparkling wine increased by 13% and 9% respectively in the first two months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, restaurants, hotels and café channels are closing one after another and tourism is facing difficulties due to the impact of the New Crown epidemic.
Image from: Italian Wine Network
The Christmas and New Year sales season, which normally accounts for about one-third of the annual sales of Italian sparkling wine, was spent this year in the midst of the second wave of epidemic control measures. It is expected that Italian sparkling wine companies will have the lowest revenue volume in 2020 since the last 30 years.
Amidst the stagnation brought on by the epidemic, there were some bright spots to take comfort in. First, online sales and sparkling wine sales in large distribution channels grew strongly in these year-end months, exceeding the average growth rate of the previous months.
Giampiero Comolli, head of the Wine Economy Watch Committee (Ovse-Ceves), recalls that the New Year sales season at the end of 2019 saw a record consumption of 75-76 million bottles of sparkling wine across Italy. The decline in sparkling wine sales over the same period this year was significant, but not a catastrophic dip. Sparkling wine sales across Italy are expected to fall by around 12% to 66-67 million bottles. The decrease in sparkling wine sales comes mainly due to the closure of restaurants, dance halls and other nighttime entertainment venues.
Meanwhile, household demand for sparkling wine remained relatively strong during the New Year holiday. As in previous years, last-minute holiday promotions such as these were very attractive in large distribution channels and supermarket chains, and contributed significantly to the increase in sparkling wine sales.
Around the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), the Wine Economy Watch Committee conducted a major study based on 1,842 consumers in Italy. The results of the study showed that Italians ranked convenience as the number one factor in their New Year"s sparkling wine shopping, and that concern for value for money has increased. The results also showed that sales of distilled and sparkling wines in the online channel have continued to grow, especially in New Year's gift boxes.
As a result, some wineries are offering new ways for consumers to order New Year's gift boxes containing sparkling wines directly from the winery by phone or online, often with significant promotional discounts (up to 25 percent). Consumers are very interested in this convenient and affordable way of selling their wines.
The study concludes that the epidemic has caused a halt in tourism, bringing direct consumption losses to Italy amounting to 5 billion euros, with food and wine sectors being particularly affected. In the last 30 days of this year alone, the consumption of sparkling wine will suffer losses of more than 150 million euros, and production losses will reach 60 million euros.