Demand for sparkling wine in Canada has jumped by more than half in the last five years and is expected to expand by another third in the next five. Prosecco has been riding this wave and is outperforming the market, having gone from accounting for nearly one in five sparkling wine bottles consumed in 2016, to around one in three last year, according to IWSR data.
Findings from Wine Intelligence show that much of this demand has been driven by a 21% rise in the number of sparkling wine drinkers over the past three years, as well as the growing popularity of the category among Millennials. Almost a million new drinkers have entered the sparkling wine segment since 2019 and those in the Millennial 25-39 age band now account for 42% of sparkling wine drinkers, up from 37% in the same period.
As in other markets, the perception of sparkling wine in Canada is shifting from a drink enjoyed in formal settings, to one that is increasingly suited to more relaxed environments. The number of occasions appropriate to its consumption has increased significantly and so has the frequency of its intake among Canadians. Wine Intelligence data shows that the number of Canadian sparkling wine drinkers enjoying sparkling wine once a week has risen from 16% in 2019 to 25% in 2022.
These conditions have proved to be very fertile ground for Prosecco brands, because Wine Intelligence findings show that Prosecco, along with sparkling rosé, has the highest consumption incidences, and is associated with informal social situations as well as still being seen as suitable for celebrations. 46% of sparkling wine drinkers view Prosecco as a ‘good drink for celebrations’ and a similar number considered it ‘perfect for a party’.
Competitive pricing has played an important role in democratising sparkling wine in Canada, and although Prosecco was outscored by domestically produced, US and ‘sparkling wines from other countries’, more than a third of sparkling wine drinkers believe that Prosecco represents good value to drinkers.
In the two most important cues cited for influencing purchasing behaviour in the off trade – brand awareness and recommendations from friends or family – Prosecco also grades highly. ‘A brand I am aware of’ is the number one factor behind the purchase of a Prosecco product and ‘recommendations’ is the number two.
The Millennial drinkers helping to push up sales of sparkling wine are also likely to be fashion conscious and Prosecco is very much in vogue among Canadian drinkers. No other sparkling wine type is perceived to be more ‘fashionable’ than Prosecco.
As an increasing number of consumers choose to drink sparkling wine more regularly, the prospects of the category look bright. The main threat to the category comes not from other alternative alcoholic drinks but from the current economic outlook. Rising inflation and a global financial downturn is likely to have repercussions for consumer spending on sparkling wine.
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