Vodka’s performance in six key markets

14th May, 2018 by admin

The king of white spirits has suffered a tumultuous few years, but pockets of growth are emerging. The Spirits Business assesses the state of vodka in key markets around the world.

*This feature was originally published in the April 2018 issue of The Spirits Business

Vodka experienced a small, but not insignificant, sales lift in 2017. This followed three previous years of volume decline as the flavour boom went bust, and the category has been slow to recover the 24.5 million cases that were lost.

However vodka reported marginal growth of 0.2% last year as the category slowly but surely clawed back sales – and analysts predict this will be accelerated in 2018.

If we look at value, vodka appears to be growing even faster, with global sales jumping from US$64.61 billion in 2016 to US$67.49bn in 2017 – this follows two years of decline.

While consumption levels may be lower, vodka drinkers are demonstrating a continued thirst for premiumisation. Clearly, the trend for drinking less but better that has gripped the wider alcohol beverage world has also reached the white spirits sector.

“As the ripple effects of the saccharine waves washing over vodka and the resulting flavour fatigue begin to subside, transparency, a shift of focus back towards provenance, a return back to vodka’s unpretentious positioning and high energy roots, and its evolution through hyper­local campaigns and local iterations will begin to stem the tide in its still haemorrhaging core markets,” says Spiros Malandrakis, senior analyst at Euromonitor International.

“Since the downward pressure is ultimately cyclical, the roaring performance of the past decade will not be back, but pockets of opportunities will begin to resurface.”

And the shoots of growth are already starting to bloom – most notably in Africa and the Middle East. In a region where many countries are caught up in political battles, wars, and economic turmoil, vodka producers are managing to gain traction with their brands, thanks to growing cocktail culture and an emerging middle-class population.

But what of the impacts from changing tastes in vodka’s heartland, Eastern Europe? Trend­setting millennials and evolving cocktail culture in North America?

All the data has been provided by Euromonitor International.

Click through the following pages for an in-depth, market-by-market analysis of the vodka category.

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