Australians love their Champagne. New figures show Australians popped the second-largest number of Champagne corks in history during 2016, the Comité Champagne announced at Prowein in Germany overnight.
Australia holds its position as the seventh-largest Champagne market on earth and fifth-largest per head of population, with 7.4 million bottles landing in 2016, narrowly missing the all-time record of 8.1 million in 2015.
These figures reveal the first drop in Australia’s Champagne consumption since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2009.
“But Australia’s 2016 champagne sales could hardly be considered as a decline,” says Tyson Stelzer, author of The Champagne Guide and host of the Taste Champagne event series. “An exceptional sales record in 2015 was an anomaly, and 2016 figures perfectly fit Australia’s buoyant growth curve, popping an average of 600,000 more bottles every year since 2009.”
These results confirm the recent trend of Australian drinkers turning away from beer and cheap sparkling wine in favour of more premium cuvées from Champagne.
Champagne sold 306.1 million bottles globally in 2016, marginally less than its post-GFC record of 312.5 million bottles in 2015. The biggest growth markets for champagne in 2016 were Mexico (up 31%), New Zealand (29%), Russia (22%), South Africa (22%), South Korea (16%) and Canada (12%).
Despite this small decline in volume of sales, the average value per bottle of champagne sold globally in 2016 rose by 1.5%.
“The diversification of cuvées is continuing in 2016: 8.6% more bottles of champagne rosé have been shipped than in the previous year, and prestige cuvées show an increase of 4.6%,” said Comité Champagne communications director Thibaut Le Mailloux. “Champagne consumers are turning to ever rarer and more prestigious cuvées.”
“Of Champagne’s top 10 markets, Australia ranks lowest in proportion of rosé consumed, lowest in grower champagne and second-lowest in prestige champagne,” reveals Stelzer. “Our per bottle spend remains one of the lowest in the world.”