Global Spirits: Recovering and Plenty of Opportunities

Between 2011 and 2016, spirits further increased its share of global alcohol consumption in volume terms. The increases were only marginal, but it, along with cider/perry and RTDs/high-strength premixes, managed to increase its share of throat at the expensive of beer and wine. This share increase was driven by a mixture of weak performances by the two bigger categories in key markets such as China and the US for beer, and Western European markets for wine, but also healthy growth in spirits, particularly in Asia Pacific.

However, that increase in volume share of throat was not reflected in value terms, where spirits was the only category to lose share. This is primarily due to most of the volume growth coming from low value local spirits in emerging markets. Even where there were high value ones, such as baijiu liquor in China, consumers traded down from higher end products due to the crackdown on gift giving and corporate entertaining.

Going forward, there are significant opportunities for international spirit brands. The opportunities especially lay in emerging markets, as growing wealth in these markets make products more affordable. There are also opportunities in mature markets and in untapped markets or new niches, such as super-premium gin.