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Global gin volumes grew 4% in 2023

The global gin category rose by 4% last year with consumption up by nearly a quarter on 2019 levels.

Gin is seeing growth in emerging markets such as Nigeria, Russia, China and India

Chris Pitcher, partner at Redburn Atlantic, hosted a seminar at Ginposium on 14 June, looking at the performance of the gin sector in key markets across the world, alongside category trends.

Citing data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, Pitcher noted that the worldwide growth of 4% in 2023 was a slowdown on the previous year when volumes were up by 8%.

“The industry has come out of the pandemic with a brief hiatus in growth, and it’s still growing. It reached over 100 million cases, which is a pretty phenomenal achievement,” he added.

In 2023, gin consumption recovered to 24% ahead of 2019, he noted.

Pitcher also said value had “grown significantly ahead of volume” between 2019 and 2023, reaching a record US$14 billion in sales last year. It marked an increase of 29% above 2019 levels.

However, in 2023, retail sales grew by only 2%, the first time in a while it had grown slower than volume, Pitcher explained.

In 2023, gin continued to take global market share of international spirits consumption (excluding local spirits such as Chinese baijiu), with a 6% volume share. However, gin lost share of revenue last year because the average price per unit fell by 2%, Pitcher said.

Between 2015 and 2019, worldwide gin consumption grew by 36%. There was broad-based growth across the Americas, Europe, Southern Africa and Asia Pacific.

The gin boom was global across most markets in the world, said Pitcher.

Following the pandemic, 2020 volumes dropped by 2%, with the category being “resilient”.

Between 2019 and 2023, Pitcher explains that there was a “pretty good recovery” for the category in Europe (except for the UK and Spain), Africa and Asia.

Last year, gin volume sales were down in Latin America, North America, Australia, the UK and large parts of Western Europe. France was flat.

UK performance

Gin sales in the UK fell by 14% as the category lost shelf space to segments such as Tequila in the past year, IWSR data revealed.

At its peak, gin represented approximately 22% of UK spirits consumption. However, consumption is still 60% above the pre-boom trend in 2013, Pitcher noted.

Gin in the UK is a five-million-and-a-half-case industry, said Pitcher. In the UK, the category’s share of total alcohol consumption fell to 4%. Pre-gin boom it was at 2% and, at its peak, it reached 5%.

Gin pricing has also “moved ahead of spirits” and looking at CPI data, Pitcher notes that gin, up until 2023 has “kept up its share of total household budget”.

Pitcher has also seen a “fall off” in flavoured gin and a drop in standard-priced gins in the UK. The number of gin distilleries in the UK was also static in 2023 but has seen a six-fold increase since 2014.

“Despite gin coming off, spirits have held onto share of total alcohol [in the UK],” he added. “You started to see a bit of resurgence in vodka, liqueurs, bitters [such as Aperol] and rum.”

International potential

The category saw “very strong growth” in markets such as Africa and Asia, in particular Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, China and India. He also notes growth in Japan and Italy.

On the global travel retail market, Pitcher said: “Over the past couple of years, there’s been a big drop off in duty free volumes. It got back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, came off a little bit for gin in 2023, but it’s slightly better than some of the bigger categories, which still haven’t caught up on duty free in previous levels.”

After the pandemic, value has moved “well ahead of volume” for gin in GTR, Pitcher noted.

Looking at worldwide import and export data, Pitcher noted that the UK remained the biggest net exporter of gin. The UK has exported US$800 million worth of gin on average over the past five years.

Gin saw a decline of 4% in the US in the year ending 18 May 2023 (NIQ data).

In terms of the worldwide per capita consumption of standard-priced-plus gins, there is an “opportunity for growth” in European markets such as Italy and the US.

In the mature markets of UK, Ireland, Spain, Canada and Australia, Pitcher notes that consumption is at approximately one bottle per person every year.

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