Higher excise duties, a depressed hotel, restaurant and café sector, and terror attacks had an impact on champagne sales to Belgium last year, the Benelux Champagne Bureau said on Monday at the Belgian Day of Champagne Wines, organized in La Côte. The number of bottles sent to Belgium decreased by 9% last year, amounting to 8,331,410. Belgium, the sixth largest champagne market in the world, accounted for just 5.57% of exports. It still remains an important market, even if it was surpassed by Japan in 2016.
The number of bottles sent to Belgium excludes border purchases. The Champagne Office evaluates at more than two million the bottles purchased directly in France by Belgians.
According to estimates from the Growth from Knowledge (GfK) Office, champagne consumption by Belgian households has increased by 6.7% in volume and 15% in value. “This increase stems, among other things, from the diversification and qualitative increase in champagne consumption, along with the Belgian public’s increasing interest in special years, rosé and vintage champagne,” the Benelux Champagne Bureau said.
This diversification trend is a worldwide one. Last year, Champagne exported 8.6% more bottles of rosé than in 2015 and 4.7% more bottles of prestige years. “Champagne consumers are turning to increasingly rare and prestigious vintages,” the Office noted.