IWSR forecasts global beverage alcohol to gain 3% volume in 2021

03 June, 2021

The global drinks industry is showing positive signs of recovery and will grow in volume by 2.9% by the end of 2021, according to new IWSR forecasts.

The newly published report attributes the recovery to the resilience in key markets, the swift reaction of brand owners to market conditions, the surgent performance of ecommerce and RTDs, and the progress of premiumised at-home drinking.

IWSR expects global beverage alcohol consumption to return to pre-Covid levels by 2023, steadily increasing through 2025.

The two fastest-growing categories, according to projections, are no-alcohol spirits, at 30.6% compound annual growth rate 2021-2025, and RTDs, at 10.2% CAGR during the same period.

“In many global markets, Covid-19 accelerated the impact and growth of key industry drivers, such as the development of ecommerce, premiumisation, the rise of the ‘home premise,’ moderation, and the need for convenience in product formats,” said Mark Meek, chief executive of IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

“These are the trends that will also underpin the industry’s resilience as it pivots to meet consumers where they are in the years to come.

“Additionally, across many markets, some segments of the population now have significantly more disposable income than they did in 2019, some of which will be spent on beverage alcohol products.”

From the IWSR analysis of data taken from 160 countries, beverage alcohol consumption fell by 6.2% globally in 2020, a result of the closures of bars and restaurants around the world. Although a significant decline this figure is less severe than previously forecasted.

While still wine consumption has been in decline, it became the drink of choice for many over lockdown. In Brazil alone, still wine volume sales grew by 28% in 2020, driven by increasingly affordable prices and the rise of higher-quality imports.

In the US, beer lost ground to the burgeoning RTD category, a trend that is expected to continue. Elsewhere, beer lost 7.1% volume globally over lockdown.

Tequila enjoyed growth of 9.6% in 2020, driven especially by gains in the US where it overtook rum to become the country’s third-largest spirits category. Gin is forecasted to grow 4.5% CAGR 2021-2025, driven by gains in Brazil, South Africa, and Russia.

While whisky suffered in 2020 with a 10.7% drop in volume, it is expected to show long-term resilience. The return of restaurants and bars and the strength of new entrants to the category will bolster sales of Irish whiskey, but the recovery of scotch will have to wait for the revival of travel retail and the key market of India.

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