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Vodka giants experience change of fortune

The world’s two best-selling vodka brands, Smirnoff and Absolut, returned to growth last year, but a number of other leading names in the category witnessed significant losses, according to Brand Champions data.

Smirnoff vodka returned to growth last year

In 2017, Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka increased its volume sales by 2%, hitting 26 million nine-litre cases. Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard’s Absolut brand posted growth of 2.7% to 11.3m cases.

Both brands have struggled to retain growth in recent years due to changing consumer trends. In 2016, Smirnoff recorded a decline of 1.2%, while Absolut’s volume sales fell by 0.2%.

The figures have been revealed as part of The Spirits Business’s Brand Champions report – an analysis of the world’s best-selling spirits.

The supplement shows that elsewhere in vodka, brands that previously performed strongly experienced difficulty in 2017.

Notably, Diageo’s super-premium Cîroc reported a hefty 16.7% loss to 2m cases following a poor performance in the US. Bacardi’s Grey Goose brand also saw a double-digit decline (13.3%) to 3.4m cases.

Overall, the vodka category experienced marginal volume growth of 0.2% in 2017, according to market research provider Euromonitor. Value sales are rising much quicker – up from US$64.61 billion in 2016 to US$67.49bn in 2017 – suggesting continued premiumisation throughout the category.

The Brand Champions 2018 report was published in the June 2018 edition of The Spirits Business magazine, out now.

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