Sparkling  - Sweden’s fizzical embrace

Amid an overall decline of still wine and spirit volumes in Sweden, sparkling wine is seeing impressive growth and elevated interest amongst consumers

As a country known for focusing on healthy living, Sweden is becoming a place where people are drinking less, eating healthily and exercising more than ever. Along with this health-conscious movement, recent tax increases have affected alcohol volumes, causing a decline in the consumption of still wine and spirit volumes over the years. However, the reverse effect is seen for sparkling wine, which is displaying impressive growth, elevated interest amongst consumers and increased willingness to spend more across the board.

The sparkling wine category in Sweden has grown from strength to strength over the past five years with sales increasing year on year since 2012, and a growing audience of regular consumers. It has now reached the point where we have initiated coverage of the market under our Sparkling Reports series, and the first Sweden Sparkling Wine report was published last week.

Despite the impressive growth, sparkling wine is still seen largely as a beverage tied to special occasions – though this appears to be changing with growing usage and sales in the category. At present, sparkling wine is considered pleasurable, rather than something to be involved in intellectually, and it is slowly becoming more common as an everyday drink. This can be seen in the trend that they are trading in spirits for sparkling wine when enjoying a drink at home or pairing a drink with an informal meal, with those aged 35-44 the most likely to choose sparkling wine for a relaxing drink at home.

As with all alcohol in Sweden, sparkling wine sales remain controlled by the nation’s government-regulated monopoly retailer, Systembolaget, where consumers are primarily driven by brand awareness, recommendations from friends or families and price, regardless of sparkling wine type.

Of the sparkling wines available, Champagne is the frontrunner in terms of both awareness and consumption, being consumed by over half of sparkling wine drinkers within the past year. In fact, 56% of Swedish sparkling wine drinkers have consumed Champagne in the last year, with 55% and 44% of consumers respectively drinking Prosecco and Cava . Champagne was associated with quality, sophistication and creating a positive impression, whereas Prosecco is more likely to be seen as refreshing and popular drink.

Like many other markets, the Prosecco trend continues to boom. Considered a refreshing and cheaper alternative to Champagne, we are seeing a rise in popularity, more recently amongst regular male drinkers. Although younger women have a stronger relationship with sparkling wine compared to younger men, men aged 18-34 indicated a significantly higher interest and confidence about sparkling wine, despite having relatively low awareness.

Author: Emily Carroll