Increase in UK’s sparkling wine market reaches new high – but does slowdown in growth mean we are reaching ‘peak Prosecco’?

LLB Reporter

Source: Photoshot

Slowdown in amount of sparkling wine on sale in the UK - increased 5% last year

The amount of sparkling wine on sale in the UK has increased 5% in a year, to 35.8 million gallons in 2017 from 34 million gallons in 2016 – but the slowing in growth suggests we may be approaching ‘peak Prosecco’ - says UHY Hacker Young, the national accountancy group.

UHY Hacker Young says 1.8 million more gallons of sparkling wine were on sale in the UK in 2017 than 2016 – which is the smallest increase since 2011 as the pell-mell growth in sparkling wine sales starts to cool.

Weakness in sterling has increased the cost of importing sparkling wine from countries such as Italy and France, making it harder for some retailers to maintain the “pricing points” of some sparkling wines that consumers have become used to.

UHY Hacker Young says Prosecco may have reached a ‘Burberry moment’ – where the brand suffers from overexposure and loses it luxury/aspirational image through overstocking at supermarkets and over appearance on novelty t-shirts etc.

However, UHY Hacker Young says that sales of English sparkling wine could benefit from the overexposure of Prosecco, as it maintains ‘authentic and local’ values that millennials and other key consumer groups value.

Many internationally renowned English sparkling wine brands are now recognised as a high-quality alternative to Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava and French Champagne.

UHY Hacker Young adds that sparkling wine cocktails such as Aperol Spritz and Bellinis have been heavily marketed at millennials over the past few years in an effort to maintain sales momentum.

Previous research from UHY Hacker Young found that the number of wine producers in the UK jumped 13% in a year, to a record high 397 in 2016 up from 352 in 2015.

James Simmonds, Partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: “A 5% increase in sales is not at all bad but that comes after several years of double digit growth. Unless the industry can revitalise its image this year we may now be reaching ‘peak Prosecco’.”

“It is hard for a luxury product to make the leap into the mass market without losing its reputation for exclusivity.”

“A lot of English wine producers are now vying to capture the space left, as Prosecco moves to the mainstream.”

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