Americans are popping bottles to toast the end of quarantine

Champagne being poured into flutes on a silver tray
Photo: Dave Kotinsky (Getty Images)

With roughly half of U.S. adults now fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19, economists are tracking Americans’ spending habits to see how the population is easing back toward normalcy. Because normalcy, of course, means buying things, and our purchasing patterns tell an interesting story about how we’re ready to look ahead, cautiously optimistic, to the future. In a report with the bold headline “The post-pandemic spending spree has begun,” CNBC details what Americans are spending the most money on right now.

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The major categories of increased spending are what you might expect: skirts, dresses, shoes, and jeans (or “hard pants,” an unfortunate term popularized during quarantine), all of which point to the fact that we suddenly have places to go and people to see, and we want to look our best while doing so. Similarly, shaving kits and swimsuits saw jumps in sales over this time last year, things that indicate our eagerness to schedule weekend getaways. But one category of spending signals that enthusiasm like no other: Champagne sales are up 103% over April 2020.

There’s lots of stuff people want to toast right now, whether it’s enjoying a long-awaited gathering with loved ones or successfully booking a vaccine appointment. In fact, CNBC notes that LVMH, owner of the popular champagne brands Veuve Clicquot and Moet & Chandon, is seeing its current sales best not only 2020's (which frankly would have been easy to do), but 2019's as well. The company’s Q1 sales are up 15% over pre-pandemic figures.

And that’s just the higher-end stuff. Drizly, the alcohol delivery service, has seen an increase in overall champagne sales too. The company told CNBC that champagne made up 8.4% of its orders in March and April of this year, compared to 7.4% in March/April 2019. Have you bought any champagne this season? What are you raising your glass to?

DISCUSSION

By
Duke of Kent

I drink very little — so little that some would classify me as a “non-drinker” (you could count the number of alcoholic drinks I have in a year on one hand). And last year I drank even less than usual because almost all of my drinking is done when I’m with friends and family (and, well, there were few opportunities for gathering with friends and family in 2020).

Still, I always keep a bottle of bubbles in the fridge. Champagne is a celebratory beverage. If I have something to celebrate (or someone close to me does), I want to be ready for it. This particular bottle has been in there for a long time (so I am not counted in these impressive champagne sales numbers), but as soon as I hit the two-weeks-post-second-vaccine-dose mark, I popped that bad boy open to celebrate immunity.