Prosecco sales grow by a third in one year, with retailer own labels taking the biggest market share, IRI reports

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Sales of prosecco continue to outpace those of champagne, according to new figures from retail insight leader IRI. Prosecco sales now total £356m (39 million litres in terms of volume), a growth of 34% in the last year. This compares with a sales increase of 1% for champagne (to £251m; 10 million litres) and just 0.4% for the wine sector overall.

IRI’s analysis is based on actual sales of products across the major supermarkets in the 52 weeks from 28 February 2015 to 27 February 2016.

Analysis of grocery sales data shows that shoppers are buying more supermarket own label prosecco than any individual branded product. Own label prosecco claims 12% of the total market, with the most popular brand – Plaza Centro – taking just 6%. This indicates that sales of prosecco are not being driven by the cachet any one brand brings, but rather the ability to buy a highly drinkable, celebratory tipple at a reasonable price.

The continued demand for prosecco has led to a healthy sales increase in the overall sparkling wine category, which grew 15% in the last year to £905m (85 million litres).

The performance of the wine sector as a whole is static, with value sales growing 0.4% year on year to reach £5.9 billion. Sales of still wine are down -1.8%. White wine remains the UK’s number one choice in the still wine category, representing 47% of total value sales, but its popularity is waning: sales fell -1.6%, compared with a drop of -1.2% for red wine. If it continues to decline faster than red wine, white wine may lose its position as the UK’s favourite in the next few years.

New world wines outperformed old world wines over the last year with Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina all growing in contrast to the decline of the wider market.

In terms of grape variety, it is sauvignon blanc which enjoys the highest value sales: these have increased 7% year on year to reach £617m.

Hardys is the number one still wine brand in the UK – however it only has a 6% share of the total sales in the category, which demonstrates the fragmented nature of the wine market when compared to other alcohol categories.

Toby Magill, head of IRI’s Beer, Wine and Spirits division, said: “Prosecco continues to buck the general trend of stagnant growth that we’re seeing across the wine sector as a whole. Wine had a turbulent time in late 2015, as the supermarkets made range reductions to simplify the shopping experience for customers. This made life much harder for the market as it went into the key Christmas period.

“The highly fragmented nature of the market gives shoppers lots of choice – perhaps too much choice. Wine will continue to fight other sectors for shelf space in stores, and it will struggle to gain the upper hand because it doesn’t have the dominant players that the beer and spirits categories do. To compete more successfully, brands and retailers need to focus on developing and offering a really clear category vision.”

IRI Retail Advantage figures – sales of wine by % change in value sales over the 52 weeks ending 27 Feb 2016 vs. a year ago:

  Year ago Current period % change
SPARKLING WINE £786,125,487 £904,755,787 +15.1%
        Prosecco £266,159,323 £356,320,797 +33.9%
        Champagne £248,075,224 £251,045,094 +1.2%
        Other £271,890,940 £297,389,896 +9.4%
STILL WINE £5,109,448,192 £5,015,707,904 -1.8%
        Red £2,132,086,016 £2,106,601,984 -1.2%
        White £2,380,354,560 £2,341,819,392 -1.6%
        Rose £597,007,616 £567,286,528 -4.9%