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Pop goes the Prosecco as sales soar in 2014

As supermarkets report record sales of Prosecco over the festive period, it looks as though the Italian sparkling wine has become the new favourite for Brits in search of something bubbly.

Prosecco was once known to be the cheaper alternative to Champagne that only came out on special occasions. However with sales of Prosecco outstripping those of Champagne and with a 64.6 per cent rise in UK sales in the past year alone, the question arises, why the sudden interest in Prosecco and what have producers done to re-position the category?

Strategy and Positioning

The lighter and slightly sweeter nature of Prosecco means that it has greater mass appeal than the likes of Champagne and Spanish produced Cava. Its lower entry price point makes it much more affordable and accessible to consumers in all markets. The dramatic rise in market share of the sparkling wines category is somewhat contributed to price and distribution, with many high street stores producing own brand Prosecco.

There has been a recent influx in visibility both through distribution and marketing campaigns from brands such as Canti. The strategic re-positioning of the category is also key to its success, whereby Prosecco has become an everyday drink rather than something reserved for special occasions. This has opened the doors to a larger market for the sparkling wine, something which the Cava market has yet to capitalise on.

Can popularity be a bad thing?

Pub landlords in the UK are capitalising on the Prosecco trend by serving the sparkling wine on tap. However concern has arisen from Italian producers, they’re threatening legal action on the premise that under European Law since 2009, in order to be classed as Prosecco, the sparkling wine must be “marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles”.

Backed by the government in Rome the consortium of Prosecco makers are within their rights to order pubs to stop labelling the sparkling wine as Prosecco. They are safeguarding the category from reputational damage and would be able to take any pub that refused to abide by the regulations to the EU courts to reclaim damages to their intellectual property.

Protecting any brand is imperative to ensure its market share and brand equity. Brand valuation, along with brand health checks and careful strategy are the basis for any brand’s development, and as we start to see particular Prosecco brands emerge to dominate the market, they will inevitably require regular brand valuation and competitor monitoring.

Now is the time for Prosecco brands to invest in their branding to ensure they capitalise on this demand and elevate themselves in the mind of the consumer. 2015 may be the year that the Moet and Piper Heidsiecks will be over taken by Canti and Cinzano Prosecco’s.