Why Aperol sales are going through the roof

Aperol sales are continuing to surge around the world – including Australia – following the bright orange aperitif playing a starring role in The White Lotus.

Actors were seen sipping Aperol Spritzes throughout the show’s second season via a product placement deal facilitated by influencer marketing, brand entertainment and product placement company BENlabs, which Campari says boosted the sales of Aperol by 50%.

Season two of the HBO hit took place in a Sicilian resort, with a backdrop of gorgeous beaches and lush Italian countryside. American viewers were intrigued and Reddit was inundated with people wanting to know more about the bright orange drink.

As Campari explains, the perfect Aperol Spritz serve is three parts of Prosecco, two parts of Aperol, one part soda and a slice of orange. A splash of celebrity cache doesn’t hurt either …

“If you look at White Lotus, which is a key Netflix TV series, you’ll see so many orange glasses – the Aperol perfect serve throughout every single show. That clearly is having an impact,” said Campari Group CEO Robert Kunze-Concewitz in an analyst call.

(Aperol isn’t the only thing see a boost from what has been dubbed as The White Lotus effect. According to the travel app Hopper, searches for Sicily flights and hotels increased by 50% during the time the show aired.)

Aperol was invented by two Italian brothers in 1919 as a means to combat the heat and humidity of the summer months. In the immediate post-war period and in later years, Aperol became hugely popular all over Italy.

Its popularity outside Italy only began to surge about seven years ago.

The brand now represents 26% of Campari’s sales and grew by almost a third at 32.4% in the first half of 2023. The US was up a whopping 122.5%; Italy grew by double digits at 18%; Germany, the third largest market, grew by 22%; and France by 27.5%. The UK, Spain, Canada, Australia and all the other European markets also grew by double digits. 

Aperol Spritz RTD sales were also up double digits at 10.6% in the first half of 2023.

Kunze-Concewitz said trialling at events such as Coachella in the US was paying off. Coachella is an annual music and arts festival held in the Coachella Valley in California. It is one of the largest and most popular music festivals in the world and has become a cultural phenomenon since its first edition in 1999.

Campari created an Aperol Piazza for the event – a pop-up bar inspired by traditional Italian town squares.

Cosmopolitan declared it the “unofficial, official drink of the hot weather season”.

“We get liquid to lips and we know that once we do that, then they become converts,” Kunze-Concewitz said. “This brand is becoming very, very meaningful, and it’s starting to get to a tipping point [in the US].”

The power of celebrities has been helping to raise Aperol’s profile for the past few years. Reese Witherspoon featured the liqueur on her Instagram account, mixing a cocktail containing Aperol in her kitchen, while David Beckham sipped them while on a skiing holiday.

“We’d like to thank David Beckham for actually posting – voluntarily posting, I might underline, three or four great posts last week enjoying Aperol Spritz in a French premium skiing resort,” Kunze-Concewitz noted at the time.

Asia Pacific leads sales for Campari

Overall, Campari Group enjoyed strong organic sales growth of +14.2% in the first half, driven by aperitifs, tequila and premium bourbon, boosted also by pricing.

The Asia Pacific may be Campari’s smallest region, only making up 7% of its sales, but it was the fastest-growing in the first half of 2023, up 26.2%.

Australia, the largest market in the Asia Pacific, was up 7.5% during the period, accelerating in the second quarter by 10.1%, largely led by Wild Turkey ready-to-drink thanks to the recovery in shipments as well as strong momentum in bourbon and Aperol.

“Looking at the remainder of 2023, we remain confident of the positive business momentum across key brand-market combinations, reflecting business seasonality and expected normalisation in volume growth, thanks to strong brand equity and continued strength in the on-premise,” Kunze-Concewitz said.

“Regarding margins, we expect the trends to reflect the sales mix evolution, different comparison bases for pricing effects as well as the initial easing effects on input costs inflation, alongside the phasing of A&P and continued sustained investments to strengthen the Group’s commercial capabilities.

“In the medium term, we remain confident of continuing to deliver strong organic topline and margin expansion
leveraging mix improvement as well as input cost inflation normalisation.”

The Aperol Spritz opportunity in Australia

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