Champagne sales are in lockdown whilst boxed wine sales rocket in French supermarkets

Tuesday April 14 2020 by Vitisphere

 “In the long term, we will no doubt see a rebound in these alcohol categories as people show a desire to enhance their daily lives, which may seem gloomy and repetitive”, stressed Mathieu André-Febrero, Nielsen's on-trade manager. “In the long term, we will no doubt see a rebound in these alcohol categories as people show a desire to enhance their daily lives, which may seem gloomy and repetitive”, stressed Mathieu André-Febrero, Nielsen's on-trade manager. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan

In French supermarkets, there is clearly a before and after lockdown effect for sales of beverage alcohol. After a 12% value boost fuelled by stockpiling in the twelve days prior to lockdown on Tuesday 17 March, alcohol sales fell 16% over the first twelve days of lockdown, according to Nielsen panels.

Isolation across France has not benefitted wines and spirits, as experts point out: “Since 17 March, consumers have side-stepped the alcohol department in-store, despite the closure of hospitality outlets”. Focussing on basic necessities and dipping into their store cupboards at home, consumers are buying less wine in supermarkets (-31% in the first week of April), although the surge in drive-through shopping is causing wine sales to experience a meteoric rise (+158% at the beginning of April).

Overall, still wine sales fell by 2% from March 13 to 29 (i.e. since the first presidential speech on March 12). Sparkling wines, which have been severely affected by the lack of inclination to celebrate at the moment, plummeted by 29% and Champagnes by 53%. Conversely, rosé wines held up with a 3% increase in sales, “thanks to the particularly sunny weather during the first weeks of lockdown”, said Nielsen. Large formats, which are a good solution for lengthy lockdown and storage issues, are popular in supermarkets. From March 16 to 29, sales of boxed wines soared by 43% across the channel.

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