By Nicki Bourlioufas
The number of sparkling wine drinkers in the US is growing, with a 17% increase in the number of monthly drinkers since 2018, with US drinkers increasingly favouring Italian wines, though they turn to Champagne for quality bubbles, according to Sparkling Wine in the US Market August 2020 report from Wine Intelligence.
Australia’s Yellow Tail and California’s Barefoot Bubbly remain the most powerful sparkling wine brands in the US market, according to Wine Intelligence.
The number of monthly adult sparkling wine drinkers in the US rose 11% in 2020 to 50.6 million from 45.4 million in 2019. Almost 33 million consumers drink sparkling wine at least once a month, nearly 5 million consumers more compared to 2018, according to Wine Intelligence.
While sales of US sparkling wine volume were flat by volume in 2019 from 2018, imports grew at a faster pace, growing by 7%, as the table below shows, and outselling domestic sparkling by over 4 million cases. Imported sparkling wine volumes now account for 57% of total volumes, led by French and Italian sparkling wines.
Drinkers of sparkling wine spend a lot more on Champagne compared with other sparkling wine types, owing to its ‘high-quality perception’, the report found. However, Prosecco remains the big growth story, with volumes up 50% since 2015. But it still has some way to go before it peaks – almost half of US sparkling drinkers are still unaware of Prosecco, the report said.
More US wine drinkers turn to bubbles
According to Wine Intelligence, new consumers are entering the sparkling wine category, namely, younger drinkers (25-45 years old), male-biased and middle-to-high income, drinking sparkling wine quite frequently, says Wine Intelligence.
However, per capita consumption is slightly decreasing, suggesting that new consumers who are entering the category are drinking with more moderation than existing sparkling drinkers.
Wine Intelligence’s report found that 65% of sparkling wine consumers drink sparkling wine at least once a month. Sparkling wine consumption frequency has increased, with the proportion of consumers drinking sparkling wine on a weekly basis increasing by 12% since last year.
Surprisingly, frequent drinkers (weekly+) tend to be younger men, with 1 in 2 millennial males consuming sparkling wine at least once a week. Men particularly increased the volume of sparkling wine they purchased in the US during June 2020, the report found.