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Japanese whisky and gin drive spirits sales in GTR

Total spirits volume in the global travel retail channel grew 2.5% last year, boosted by double-digit gains from Japanese whisky and gin, according to new IWSR figures.

Japanese whisky grew volumes by almost 20% in global travel retail last year

In 2018, spirits volume in the channel reached 24.5 million nine-litre cases, with a value of US$9.2 billion.

The IWSR said the categories that posted the largest volume increases were Japanese whisky, which increased by almost 20%, followed by gin (15%), Scotch (4.9%) and American whiskey (4.3%).

Over the next five years, the IWSR predicts that global travel retail volume will grow by 2%, led by cane spirits (6.7%), Japanese whisky (6.4%), and gin (6.2%).

By region, spirits volume is projected to increase 3.6% in Africa and the Middle East, 2.4% in Asia Pacific, 2.3% in the Americas, and 1.2% in Europe. All figures are compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2018-2023.

The retail value of spirits in the channel is estimated to hit almost US$10.4bn by 2023.

“Spirits growth in travel retail softened slightly in 2018, compared with the year before, but the positive news here for duty free operators and spirits suppliers is that the channel continues to perform well,” said Sandra Newman, travel retail research director at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

The IWSR also revealed the top 10 best-selling spirits brands in global travel retail by volume in 2018 (see table below).

Diageo-owned blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker maintained its position as the top-selling brand in global travel retail, which it has held for more than 30 years, after sales were up by almost 8% last year. The brand was followed by Brown-Forman’s American whiskey Jack Daniel’s (+1.8%) and Chivas Regal blended Scotch in third place (+4.5%).

Smirnoff vodka, also owned by Diageo, occupied the ninth spot. The brand witnessed the biggest volume decrease on the list, falling by 13.5% in 2018.

The IWSR also noted the “continued success of Aperol and Jägermeister in the bitters/apéritifs category”, with these brands posting the second- and third-highest increases in the channel in terms of total volume growth in 2018.

Top-selling spirits brands in global travel retail, ranked by 2018 volume (Source: IWSR Drinks Market Analysis)

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