Close Menu

Global alcohol consumption declines 1.6% in 2018

Drinkers across the globe consumed a total of 27.6 billion nine-litre cases of alcohol last year – a decline of 1.6%, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

Gin posted the largest gain in global alcohol consumption in 2018

The new data forecasts that total alcohol consumption will gradually increase over the next five years to 28.5bn in 2023.

Looking at retail value, the global market for alcohol last year was just over US$1 trillion. The IWSR expects this number to increase by 7% by 2023 as “consumers continue to trade up to higher-quality products”.

Of all the alcoholic drinks categories, gin posting the largest volume gain of 8.3% in 2018. Pink gin helped to boost the category’s growth, selling more than 72 million cases globally.

By 2023, gin is forecast to hit 88.4m cases globally with “strong growth” in the UK, Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Uganda, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada and France.

In the UK, gin grew by 32.5% last year. The world’s largest gin market, the Philippines, posted growth of 8% boosted by a “booming cocktail scene and premiumisation”.

Brazil was a “new hotspot” for gin, with volumes more than doubling. The market is expected to increase by 28.5% CAGR 2018-2023 as the trend for gin and tonics increases in high-end bars in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The global whisky category grew by 7% last year driven by “innovation in whisky cocktail and highballs” and largely bolstered by a “strong” Indian economy. In India, whisky grew 10.7% as consumers traded up.

The US and Japan posted 5% and 8% growth respectively. The IWSR forecasts whisky to grow by 5.7% CAGR 2018-2023, to almost 581m cases.

“Continued interest” in Tequila and mezcal (particularly in the US), and “innovation in more premium variants and cocktails” pushed the agave-based spirits category to 5.5% growth in 2018 globally. The category is forecast to increase by 4% CAGR over the next five years.

‘Sluggish’ vodka performance

Vodka saw its volumes drop by 2.8% in 2018 as the lower-priced segment continued its decline in Russia and Ukraine – the largest markets for the category.

Over the next five years, vodka will “remain sluggish” and is expected to fall by 1.7% CAGR 2018-2023.

The liqueurs sector also reported a decline last year, falling by 1.5%. It is expected to continue to drop this year before witnessing a slight rebound in 2020.

Cane spirits (predominantly cachaça) was down 1.6% last year, and is projected to lose another 4.5m cases by 2023.

The mixed drinks category – including pre-mixed cocktails, long drinks, and flavoured alcoholic beverages – grew 5% globally in 2018. By 2023, it is anticipated that more than 597m cases of mixed drinks will be consumed across the world.

The growth is backed by continued strong gains in ready-to-drink (RTD) cans in the US and Japan, the category’s two largest markets. In the US, the popularity of alcohol seltzers has boosted growth in the RTD market.

Mixed drinks and cider “are taking share from beer as perceived accessibility increases”. In the cider category, almost 270m cases are expected by 2023, a 2% CAGR 2018-2023.

The low- and no-alcohol category is showing “significant growth” in key markets. Growth of non-alcoholic mixed drinks is predicted to be 8.6% CAGR 2018-2023.

While the spirits category posted growth, beer declined 2.2% last year, and wine fell by 1.6% in volume.

“Every year our analysts spend months traveling the world to speak with suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and other beverage alcohol professionals to assess what is happening market by market in this fast-changing business,” said IWSR CEO Mark Meek.

“The raw data we collect is enormously valuable, but equally important is what that data tells us in terms of trends, challenges, and opportunities facing the industry.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No