Sales stagnate amidst declining consumer confidence
Alcoholic drinks in Switzerland registered a stagnant performance in 2012 as consumers displayed a more cautious approach to spending. Although the effect of the Eurozone crisis on the Swiss economy was remarkably muted, weaker exports to the EU and declining tourist numbers caused widespread fears about job security and resulted in stronger price-consciousness among Swiss consumers. With respect to alcoholic drinks, consumers displayed a tendency to opt for cheaper types of alcoholic drinks such as beer, while costly on-trade consumption was curbed. The strong exchange value of the Swiss franc, furthermore, encouraged a higher incidence of cross-border shopping trips to neighbouring Eurozone countries, which further constrained domestic sales of alcoholic drinks.
Swiss consumers show growing preference for lighter, sweeter and flavoured alcoholic drinks
Sales of alcoholic drinks in 2012 continued to be shaped by the trend towards sweeter and flavoured variants, a trend which was visible across a number of categories. Within spirits, it was reflected in the fact that liqueurs registered the fastest volume growth, with sweet cream-based liqueurs particularly popular. Similarly, RTDs/high strength premixes continued to register a positive performance in 2012, benefitting from new flavour launches. Although cider/perry registered a slight decline following the positive growth recorded during 2011, volume sales still remained approximately 25% higher than two years earlier as the popularity of sweeter types of cider such as strawberry cider continued to grow.
Beer producers continue to dominate competitive environment
Although demand for alcoholic drinks in Switzerland is fairly fragmented, with a large number of small local breweries, distilleries and winemakers present, during 2012 over one third of total volume sales remained under the control of the two leading beer producers, Feldschlösschen Getränke AG and Heineken Switzerland AG. The strong positions of these two players were largely due to the fact that beer is the largest category within alcoholic drinks in Switzerland in volume terms. Feldschlösschen is the only domestic beer brand which is distributed nationwide and this brand witnessed continuous growth in its volume share during 2012 as a result of its fierce marketing activities and broad beer-related product range. Both of these leading players also benefit from their strong positions in malt-based RTDs, the most popular type of RTD in Switzerland.
Off-trade remains the preferred channel among Swiss consumers
Approximately two thirds of total alcoholic drinks volume sales in Switzerland are through off-trade outlets, mainly supermarkets. Eating and drinking out is notoriously expensive in Switzerland, meaning that Swiss consumers increasingly prefer to save money on alcoholic drinks by consuming them at home rather than when eating out. Industry sources have reported a trend towards homemade cocktails and long drinks, which supported off-trade demand for cocktail ingredients such as liqueurs, flavoured spirits and bitters in 2012. The strongest distributor of alcoholic drinks in the off-trade channel in 2012 remained supermarket chain Coop, which distributes a wide range of branded alcoholic drinks as well as a high number of private label products.
Alcoholic drinks faces a difficult forecast period
Growth of alcoholic drinks in Switzerland is expected to remain limited over the forecast period. Volume sales are expected to virtually stagnate, while unit price declines are set to place additional pressure on turnover. The high exchange value of the Swiss Franc is set to continue dampening demand for inbound tourism, resulting in higher levels of price competition coming from cheap imports as well as a higher incidence of cross-border sales. Furthermore, in light of the uncertain outlook in the Swiss labour market, consumers are expected to continue reducing their expenditure on alcoholic drinks in two ways: first by reducing costly on-trade consumption; and secondly, by switching from more expensive types of alcohol such as wine to cheaper alternatives such as beer and cider/perry.
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The Alcoholic Drinks in Switzerland market research report includes:
- Analysis of key supply-side and demand trends
- Detailed segmentation of international and local products
- Historic volumes and values, company and brand market shares
- Five year forecasts of market trends and market growth
- Production, imports by origin, exports by destination
- Robust and transparent market research methodology, conducted in-country
Our market research reports answer questions such as:
- What is the market size of Alcoholic Drinks in Switzerland?
- What are the major brands in Switzerland?
- Have there been any alcoholic drinks legislative changes over the past 12 months?
- How is the alcoholic drinks industry affected by the recession?
- What is consumed more; beer, wine or spirits?
- What have been the key trends seen in new product developments?
- Do alcoholic drinks consumers want value for money or added value?
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Alcoholic Drinks market research database.