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Thai drinkers abstain from alcohol due to costs

New research from Global Data has revealed almost two-thirds of Thai consumers have stopped buying alcohol because it is too expensive.

More than 60% of Thai consumers have stopped buying alcoholic drinks as they are too expensive

Global Data’s 2023 Consumer Survey revealed while 62% have stopped buying alcoholic drinks as they consider them to be too expensive at the moment, 31% consume alcohol ‘regularly’.

Manufacturers in Thailand are said to be “facing enormous challenges amid high inflationary pressures”, according to Priyanka Jain, consumer analyst at Global Data. However, this is leading to consumers avoiding alcohol purchases.

“Moreover, the limited shelf presence and high price point of low-/no-alcohol products are compelling Thai consumers to opt for cheaper alternatives,” Jain continued.

“The onus lies on manufacturers to expand the availability of these products and entice consumers through promotions.”

Low/no boom

Furthermore, 81% said they consume low-alcohol or alcohol-free alternatives at least once a week.

High alcohol consumption is currently considered to be a “major health concern in Thailand”, according Jain.

Jain added: “Thailand is the third-heaviest alcohol consuming country in Asia, according to the World Health Organization [WHO].

“With increasing awareness about the short-term and long-term health consequences of alcohol consumption, such as liver disease, and digestive problems, health-conscious Thai consumers are gravitating towards ‘better-for-you’ alcohol products with less alcohol by volume [ABV].”

Tim Hill, key account director at Global Data Singapore, shared that the pandemic “accentuated awareness” about good health in Thailand, which “gave rise to more consumption occasions for low-alcohol and no-alcohol or alcohol-free products”.

“This ties in with the survey, wherein, 81% of Thai consumers said they consume low-alcohol or 0% alcoholic alternatives at least once a week,” he continued. “Low-/no-alcohol offerings have also generated interest among drinkers and manufacturers alike, as they address some of the social, political, and economic concerns associated with binge drinking and alcoholism.”

Targeting female drinkers

Hill noted that manufacturers are looking to expand their consumer base by targeting female drinkers “through lifestyle-orientated product positioning”.

He said: “Leading companies are also leveraging alternative ingredients and production techniques to develop healthier alcoholic beverages with personalised claims, such as gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-sugar to attract health-conscious consumers.

“Increasing on-premise footfall, rising tourist arrivals, and the resumption of social gatherings, celebrations, and mass-spectator cultural and sports events will boost the demand for low- and no-alcohol drinks in Thailand through 2023.

“However, the limited product awareness and weaker purchasing power will undermine the segment’s growth momentum in the immediate future. Manufacturers need to create awareness of these products through marketing initiatives.”

Product innovation within the low-and-no sector has been seen across a number of spirits categories – Sierra Tequila recently introduced its Tropical Chilli, a lower-strength expression infused with tropical fruits.

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