Volume sales of alcoholic drinks came under severe pressure over the second half of the review period due to the introduction of 100% excise tax in 2019 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. With sales weighted towards the on-trade due to the strict regulation of retail alcohol sales, quarantine lockdowns and fears of contagion took a heavy toll on total volume sales across all categories in 2020 before sales rebounded in 2021 as foreign tourists returned and bars and clubs reopened.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on on-trade sales of alcoholic drinks in Qatar during 2020, with 2021 earning only a partial recovery in sales. Throughout 2021, the country continue to witness the huge impact of the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, with the numbers of cases spiralling during the final quarter of the year as daily cases were being reported at record high levels.
While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sales alcohol drinks had receded substantially by the end of 2021, there were some concerns about the extent to which Qatari society has struggled to hope with the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, towards the end of 2021, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus led to a worrying surge in the number of daily COVID-19 infections across the country, with daily cases surpassing 4,000 per day, a very high figure for a country with a population of less than three million.
In 2020, Qatar’s GDP per capita hit approximately USD50,000, making the country one of the richest nation states in the GCC region and among the wealthiest societies in the world. As a result of widespread affluence, people living in Qatar generally have an excellent standard of living and high purchasing power.
Qatar is one of the most urbanised populations of any country in the world, with more than 90% of the population residing in the capital city Doha. For this reason, Doha remains the nexus of the country’s infrastructure.
Drinking alcohol is forbidden for the Muslim majority but permitted for non-Muslim expatriates and tourists. Non-Muslim expatriates residing in the country must acquire a licence in order to buy alcoholic drinks in the off-trade, with off-trade sales occurring only through Qatar Distribution Company’s one store on the outskirts of Doha.
There were no notable changes to Qatar’s tax regime during the 2020 or 2021 that would have any serious impact on the country’s alcoholic drinks industry. However, the anticipated introduction of VAT is likely to have an impact on prices and cost of purchasing alcohol for individuals.
Alcohol drinks is slated for a very strong point over the forecast period, with Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup expected to result in a huge increase in both off-trade and on-trade sales of alcohol drinks generally. Beer, wine and spirits are expected to register double-digit total volume growth over the course of 2022, with growth rates expected to continue climbing at a moderate pace throughout the rest of the forecast period.
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Alcoholic drinks is the aggregation of beer, wine, spirits, cider/perry and RTDs.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Alcoholic Drinks research and analysis database.
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