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Lockdown accelerated Champagne's growth in mainland China

Published:  14 September, 2021

Demand for Champagne has risen dramatically in mainland China over the past 12 months, according to market expert Lei Meng.

In an exclusive interview with Harpers, the founder of consultancy firm Sparkling Asia said that her clients had reported a sharp rise in sales following the end of the first lockdown in 2020.

“The potential for market expansion in China is huge. A significant change was observed last year, just after the national lockdown ended.” Meng attributes this surge in demand to the national sense of relief at being able to enjoy formerly curtailed freedoms.

“We suddenly noticed that private consumers were starting to enjoy Champagne and the on-trade has recorded rising sales as well – particularly hotels and restaurants. The future potential of the market is looking very promising.”

Historically, the vast majority of Chinese drinkers have reportedly shown little interest in Champagne, due to a cultural dislike of cold and sparkling beverages.

However, Champagne Joseph Perrier's export manager Matthieu Luneau said that this was changing.

“I made my first trip to China in October 2019, introducing Joseph Perrier during a trade fair called 100% Champagne,” said Luneau.

“For a long time we sidelined the market, as we felt that Chinese consumers were not ready for Champagne in a wider sense. Yet we feel that the time has come for us to invest more into the country, and that a critical mass of consumers are now ready to discover Champagne.”

According to the IWSR's data, Champagne sales volume in China grew +2.4% between 2014-2019. Volumes are forecast to grow +2.6% between now and 2024.

Meng added that this burgeoning interest had been encouraged by a significant investment of resources by the major houses and their Chinese partners, organising numerous masterclasses and events.

“The growth can also be attributed to a shift in luxury consumption habits, rising education, and the empowerment of female middle-class consumers,” Meng said.

“In my experience, some of the most popular brands in China include Moet & Chandon, Dom Pérignon, Perrier Jouet, Henri Giraud and Laurent Perrier.”