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Slow down in global spirits consumption

The Asia-Pacific region is helping buoy growth in global spirits as European consumption falls, according to the latest data from IWSR.

Global spirits consumption grew by 1.6% in 2012 to 3.07bn nine-litre cases (domestic and travel retail), a marked slowdown compared with 2011, when volumes grew by 6.5%.

Spirits consumption in the Asia-Pacific region (domestic markets) grew by 2.7% in 2012 to 1.92m cases; although slower than in 2011, it has helped keep global consumption in growth, according to the IWSR. While Europe continues to decline, Asia-Pacific added 49.8m cases to its markets; more than the size of the German spirits market. Asian region travel retail also grew strongly.

The latest data from the IWSR shows seven of the top 10 growth markets to be from the Asia-Pacific region and most of this increased consumption is from local spirits. China and India are the top growth markets rising by 24.4m and 11.1m cases respectively. China alone now accounts for 38% of global spirits consumption, and India 9.8%.

Counterbalancing this strong growth, mature European markets – France, Spain, Germany and Italy – are also among the largest-declining markets, their decline being attributable to tax increases and struggling economies. The European spirits market dropped 2.5m cases in 2011 and a further 6.5m cases in 2012, equivalent to almost the entire Czech Republic’s spirits market.

The largest-growing categories in 2012 all have Asian countries as their top growth markets. Baijiu grew by 23.9m cases to 1.16bn cases, with all the growth coming from China. The second-largest growth category was brandy (excluding Cognac and Armagnac), growing 12.5m cases; its main growth came from India and the Philippines, both adding over 6m cases to their markets. Shochu/soju, the top spirits in South Korea and Japan, grew 5.7m cases and other whisk(e)y – whisky not from Scotland, the US, Canada or Ireland – grew by 5m cases thanks to continued growth of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) whisky in India.

Despite a slowdown in the economic growth of some Asian markets, wealth is still rising and a new generation of consumers emerging. The IMF has cut its growth rate forecast for China and although the spirits market has slowed, it is still experiencing strong growth, particularly compared with Western markets.

Pictured: Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum cocktails

13 June 2013 - Felicity Murray