The Champagne Council is about to release official figures for total Champagne shipments in 2020, but data for the 12 months to the end of November show that shipments will end the year at around 246 million bottles. That's down about 51.5 million bottles from the previous year's total (297.5 million), but the decline is much less than expected based on the July 2020 database report, which shows the region expects demand to fall by as much as a third, or 100 million bottles, by the end of the year.
Photo courtesy of: Wine Click
The decline in the Champagne market last year was the result of two major factors, both of which were of course linked to the 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak.
First, widespread restrictions on hotels and restaurants. most of the major Champagne markets were all closed for most of 2020. This is particularly true in major consumer countries such as the United States, where the main distribution channels for Champagne are bars and restaurants.
Second, the new crown epidemic caused a significant slowdown in travel retail.
The market for Champagne is particularly weak in 2020. 2020 has seen a reduction in production of up to 26 million bottles up to November 2020, which means that the French market alone accounts for more than half of the overall reduction in Champagne production.
However, this was partly compensated by the fact that Champagne sold by retailers in major European markets, especially through online channels, whether run by fine wine merchants or supermarkets, did not do badly.
Andrew Hawes, chairman of the Champagne Agents Association (UK), said the demand for premium brand champagne from UK retailers was surprising.
There is still light amidst the bleakness for Champagne. 2020 saw a high level of consumer demand in the final weeks, which took beverage market players by surprise. Because of the Christmas period, the UK has particularly strict restrictions on social activities, and family members are not allowed to gather indoors to celebrate during the holiday season.
For now, Brits are still buying fine champagne in bulk to enjoy with their closest relatives and friends. Year-end retail sales of Champagne in France soared, helping the region reach a projected 246 million bottles in 2020, a drop of about 18 percent .
This figure would make 2020 the year with the fewest shipments so far this century, following a low of 293 million bottles in 2009, when the financial crisis of late 2008 caused a significant drop in Champagne consumption.