Worldwide Champagne shipments dropped by 1.8% in 2018, falling some 5,523,085 bottles from 307,379,350 to 301,856,265. This is the lowest level since 2009, when the market suffered a significant fall in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis dropping to 293.3m bottles, and close to the level in 2004 of 301.4m bottles, though at that point shipments were still growing steadily year on year.
Although it was entirely expected, as this have been a clear trend for nearly a decade now, 2018 was also the first year in recent times when exports have exceeded French domestic consumption. French domestic shipments have dropped every year since the recent high point of 185.13m bottles was reached in 2010, while exports have been growing fairly consistently since the beginning of the Millennium.
Exports last exceeded French domestic shipments in 1946, though by less than 1m bottles – 12,793,929 bottles against 12,057,163 – as countries starved of Champagne during World War Two sort to catch up. Exports also exceeded French consumption in 1927-1929 and between 1919 and 1921, while before 1914 sales of Champagne outside France were regularly higher.
The other noticeable trend in consumption has been the gradual decline of sales within the rest of Europe where shipments dropped, though by less than one percentage point, to 76.148m bottles in 2018, while exports to markets outside Europe continue to rise and were up 2.1% to 78.68m bottles in 2018.