Economic consequences of COVID-19 pandemic led to an 18.8 percent decrease year-over-year
March 31st – WASHINGTON – The Champagne Bureau, USA, today announced that 20,838,248 bottles of Champagne were shipped to the United States in 2020, an 18.8 percent decrease year-over-year in the adjusted final annual figures. Despite the decline in volume, due in large part to the economic consequences presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of these shipments reached more than $572.2 million (€501.9 million) in 2020, the highest of any country outside of France. Globally, Champagne shipped 17.9 percent fewer bottles in 2020 compared to the previous year, lower than the 30 percent anticipated loss that was initially expected.
“The Champagne sector has proven its resilience before, and it will do so again,” said Jennifer Hall, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA. “After the Great Recession, the industry bounced back and saw seven consecutive years of growth in Champagne shipments to the United States. It’s our hope that Champagne will again show its strength as the United States makes progress towards recovery from the global pandemic.”
The Champagne industry has weathered global upheaval before, most recently following the 2008 financial crisis. Shipments to the United States fell nearly 27 percent in 2009. However, the shipments quickly bounced back, and the industry saw seven consecutive years of growth in the United States between 2012 and 2019, with an average 6.2 percent growth in volume per year.
During a virtual press conference*, Hall discussed the latest shipments data with Gaëlle Egoroff, Appellation Protection & Promotion Director at the Comité Champagne, which represents the 360 houses and 16,100 growers of Champagne, France. Egoroff remarked that “the closure of primary consumption and sales hubs, along with the cancellation of in-person events, put the industry under pressure,” and noted that the Comité Champagne “took steps to preserve the economic fabric of Champagne and invent new viticulture processes to address sanitary regulations.”
These steps included health measures to ensure the safety of the 30,000 permanent workers and 100,000 seasonal workers that come to Champagne to assist with the harvest, including adding mobile COVID-19 testing units in the vineyards. With restaurants and bars closed, producers also reinvented the way they marketed their products, including through virtual trade fairs, e-commerce and social media sales, demonstrating the Champagne industry’s ability to adapt in the face of unprecedented restrictions.
*The passcode to view the virtual press conference is 61VfxzF$
The Champagne Bureau, USA, is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Champagne, a trade association which represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. The Bureau works to educate U.S. consumers about the uniqueness of the wines of Champagne and expand their understanding of the need to protect the Champagne name. For more information, visit us online at http://www.champagne.com.