According to the French Association of Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS), after two years of slight decline, sales of French wines and spirits in 2015 reached a record level of €11.7 billion, representing an increase of 8.7 per cent.
FEVS says that this result has put wines and spirits back in second place in the ranking for France’s largest export industries, with net exports of €10.4 billion.
It also noted that this performance essentially resulted from positive exchange rate fluctuations, with the weakening of the euro against the currencies of France’s main trade partners boosting exports.
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
Wine exports increased by 6.7 per cent when compared with 2014, reaching a value of €7.9 billion. This has mainly been put down to the strength of Champagne sales, which rose by 12.1 per cent in value and 4.8 per cent in volume.
However, still exports of still wines continued to decline in volume for the third year in a row (falling by 5.2 per cent), because of their recurring low availabilities.
For the first time since 2012, sales of French spirits rose (13.2 per cent), with Cognac seeing a particularly strong performance and rising by 19.6 per cent. This offset the continuing downward trend facing spirit exports in terms of volume, which fell by 3.7 per cent due to slowdown in key vodka and brandy markets.
The US confirmed its positions as the top export market for French wines and spirits, with sales surpassing €2.5 billion, and seeing growth of 28 per cent.
Sales of French wines and spirits in Asia remain buoyant with a value of €3 billion, with exports to China alone growing by 23 per cent to €830 million. Exports to other EU countries grew by 1 per cent, which those to the rest of the world (excluding Russia) rose by 8 per cent.
Christophe Navarre, President of FEVS, commented, "This historic result belongs to an industry that promotes the excellence of French wines and spirits across the globe."
He added, however, that, "It is a paradoxical result. In 2015, growth is due to cyclical factors, in particular the weakening of euro. But the French wines market share, both in volume and in value, has been steadily declining for the past fifteen years.
"If French businesses and products are to continue to perform and to be competitive on the international market, now is the time to resolve the structural shortfall in supply and to accelerate the opening of the most important markets," he concluded.
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Jenny Whelan. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.