Global Champagne sales in 2018 edged ahead of 2017 by 0.3% to hit a new record value, said trade body Comité Champagne, at Prowein exhibition in Germany.
However, shipments fell by 1.8% in volume to 301.9 million bottles, said the trade body. Its figures are based on shipment data rather than retail sales.
Weaker demand for Champagne in France and the UK hit overall volumes; both markets were down by around 4% in volume versus 2017, said the Comité Champagne.
‘Demand is most dynamic beyond the European Union,’ it added, after reporting that total exports hit €2.9bn, up by 1.8% versus 2017.
Gap closing between UK and US
While the UK remains the largest export market for Champagne by volume, the gap between it and the US in second place has narrowed in recent years.
In 2018, 26.8m bottles of Champagne were exported to the UK and 23.7m were shipped to the US, which saw a 2.7% increase on 2017.
Exports to the UK were 31.2m bottles in 2016, according to figures released at the time, with the US on 21.8m bottles that year.
New markets open up beyond Europe
Total Champagne exports in 2018 rose by 1.8% in value to €2.9bn, said the Comité Champagne, noting that much of this growth came from beyond Europe.
In volume terms, exports rose by 0.6% versus 2017, to 154.8m bottles.
The US remained the most valuable export market for the Champenois, despite seeing shipments drop by 1.5% to €577.1m. The UK was second, albeit with a 2.2% decline to €406.2m.
Exports to Japan, the third largest market, rose by 3.9% to €318.8m, and by 5.5% in volume to 13.6m bottles.
China, Hong Kong and Russia also saw strong increases in demand for Champagne in 2018.
Exports to Hong Kong rose by 14% in value to €46.7m and by 12% in volume, to 2m bottles.
Shipments to China rose by 12% in value to €40.9m euros and by 10% in volume to almost 2.2m bottles.
For Russia, exports rose by 10% in value to €32.7m and by 13% in volume to 1.9m bottles.
Elsewhere, exports to South Africa topped the 1m bottle mark for the first time after a 38% rise in volume terms and a 43.4% jump in the value of shipments, to €25m.