After a rollercoaster two years in retail and FMCG, IRI says Australia is reopening to a ‘roaring twenties’. Consumers are embracing premiumisation and toasting 2022 with Champagne and fine wine.
The data analytics and market research company has released its 2022 FMCG Outlook Report, which notes that that we “only need to delve into history to see the opportunity” that lies ahead.
“After the last global pandemic a century ago, recovery inspired assembly lines to go mainstream and the innovation of modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, electric appliances and cars,” it states.
“COVID-19 too has already showed us how resilience, technology and innovation can change lives for the better as vaccines and remote working were developed at previously unfathomable speed. Digital technology acceleration and adoption, pandemic-driven innovation and re-focus on what’s important in our work and home lives will likely see many of our behavioural changes and developed habits of the past two years stay.”
According to IRI, “Champagne is still chearing us up and headlining at-home celebrations”, with +28.3% growth.
It is responsible for the top three wine category brands for growth in Australia with Moet & Chandon (+27%), Verve Clicquot (+26.3%) and Mumm (+22.5%) now being enjoyed as an almost ‘everyday indulgence’.
However, IRI notes that high demand and issues with freight and shopping has caused Champagne shortages.
Australia’s Champagne obsession
While most of the top 10 export markets for French bubbles experienced double digit sales declines in 2020, Australian sales were up 11.2%.
“This difficult year proved very positive for Champagne in certain countries,” noted Comité Champagne in its 2020 report.
“This was particularly true of Australia. Thanks to its excellent handling of the pandemic, the seventh largest Champagne market by both volume and value recorded growth of 11.2% in volume to 8.5 million bottles, equalling the record set in 2017. Turnover increased by 11.1% to €126.1 million. This was the biggest growth in 2020 among Champagne’s leading markets.”
In fact, 2020 marked the second best year in the history of Champagne exports to Australia, after 2017. Since 2006,
exports have increased in both volume and value by an average of 7.9% per year, propelling Australia from the 10th to the
seventh biggest Champagne market by value.
In 2021, Pernod Ricard global marketing director and CMO Eric Thomson told Drinks Digest that Australia had retained its position as the number one export market for Mumm outside Europe for Pernod Ricard.
Comité Champagne (CIVC) said the monthly export indicators show that overall Champagne exports to Australia continued to grow in 2021.
Louis Roederer agent Sally McGill, from national wine distributor Red & White told The Australian: “In a normal year, and I’ve been associated with Louis Roederer for 27 years, November and December are by far the biggest months. Ask any retailer and they’ll tell you it’s like Christmas all the time these days.”
“Demand (for champagne) is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” added Michael Gray, of Bibendum.
Fine wine boom
Continuing our new found love for luxury splurging, IRI predicts that mid-priced and premium table wines will continue to boom as lower price tiers decline.
“Australians are shopping by heritage and reputation with the $20-$50 category enjoying double digit growth headlined by Penfolds,” IRI notes.
However, the perception of value remains very important.
“Australians are very accustomed to using every channel at our disposal to shop safely, ascertain availability and get the best prices,” according to the report.
“Getting omni-channel right is key to capitalising on Australia’s pandemic shift. We continue to flock online and use ecommerce to meet our needs, facilitate connection and optimise search-to-win purchases.”