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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Greece is the world’s fastest-growing champagne market!



Champagne consumption in the debt-stricken country is soaring – but it's largely driven by an influx of wealthy tourists, not locals


Champagne consumption in Greece jumped by almost a fifth last year, making the troubled country the world’s fastest growing market for bubbly.
Greece’s champagne sales by volume increased by 18pc in 2014, which looks particularly stark compared to the global growth of 0.5pc, according to data from Euromonitor International.
Consumption in the sparkling wine’s home country of France dropped by 1.9pc, while sales in the UK, champagne’s second biggest market, creeped up by 0.4pc.
The disparity was even stronger in 2013, when Greek champagne consumption soared by 56pc and dropped by 0.8pc, 3.4pc and 0.5pc in the world, France and the UK respectively.
 
The relative size of the markets goes some way to explaining the vastly different growth rates.
“It’s not that all the Greeks in the last couple of years decided to go party and forget their troubles,” said Spiros Malandrakis, alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor. “In general, we’re talking about minimal volumes in total. Champagne consumption is still lower than before the crisis.”

Around 300,000 litres of champagne were drunk in Greece last year, a fraction of the size of France’s 107.2m litres and even the UK’s 20.4m.
That works out to a per capita consumption rate of roughly 1.7 litres of champagne each year for a French person, a third of a litre (slightly less than half a bottle) for a Briton and a negligible amount per Greek.

Despite its relatively small size, the champagne market in Greece is growing rapidly.
“It does appear to be a shocking figure,” said Mr Malandrakis, adding that once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up.
He said the growth would almost entirely be based on the country’s tourism influx, particularly to popular islands such as Mykonos and Santorini that seem entirely unscathed by the crisis.
“More tourists are coming in the country, but they are also higher-end tourists,” he said.
 
Around 24m people visited Greece in 2014, a second consecutive record year for the country of 11m, which relies on tourism for roughly one sixth of its economy.
These tourists could face VAT bills up to 30pc higher under plans proposed earlier this week by Greece’s recently-elected Leftist government to scrap special tax exemptions.
Athens is in the middle of a string of meetings with its creditors and other financial authorities in an attempt to secure extra funding to repay its loans without resorting to austerity measures.
Champagne has also been having a tough time as the luxury beverage fails to penetrate the crucial Chinese market and consumers turn to more casual and affordable alternatives, such as prosecco.
Champagne sales tend to reflect economic health – they might drop before a recession, for example – but seeing the increase in Greek consumption as a sign of good things to come would be "entirely the wrong way to analyse that", Mr Malandrakis said.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/