glass of Prosecco champagne

Brits have spent more on Prosecco than on Champagne for the first time ever.

UK grocery shoppers splashed out £181.8m on the Italian sparkling wine in 2014 - almost twice that of the previous year - versus £141.3m on Champagne [Kantar 52 w/e 4 January 2015].

Prosecco volume doubled to 21 million litres last year, more than Champagne (6.5 million) and cava (13 million) combined. Prosecco sells for an average of £6.49 a bottle versus £16.23 for Champagne [Kantar].

“Despite making cutbacks, shoppers still want a little bit of luxury,” said Toby Magill, head of BWS at IRI.

Champagne volume sales rose 0.8% last year as value sales fell 1.9% - but some Champagne suppliers said they saw the growth of Prosecco as an opportunity.

“People come into the category through Prosecco and then evolve into buying Champagne as their interest in quality becomes more prominent,” said Lanson MD Paul Beavis. While overall Champagne sales are down, Moët & Chandon and Lanson are in double-digit value growth [IRI 52 w/e 31 January 2015].

Experts warned the popularity of Prosecco meant it risked becoming a generic term for non-Champagne sparkling wine. And IRI’s Magill said it would need to adapt to maintain momentum. “Shoppers haven’t built loyalty to individual Prosecco brands,” he warned. “Suppliers will need to help shoppers see the value of their brands.”