Smuggling from neighbouring countries, especially from Brazil and Argentina, poses a significant threat to official beer sales in the Bolivian market – a threat that was magnified by conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes to currency exchange rates meant that the prices of smuggled beer products were reduced during 2020 to the detriment of legal players.
The formalisation of liquor stores had a positive impact on beer sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic player, Cervecería Boliviana Nacional, has driven the formalisation process since 2019.
Cervecería Boliviana Nacional, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, continued to dominate beer in total volume terms in 2020. It is especially strong in domestic mid-priced lager and domestic premium lager, offering the Paceña and Huari brands, respectively.
While the diminishing of the immediate threat from COVID-19 is set to create more favourable conditions for growth in beer during the forecast period, the recovery of the category will be heavily influenced by macroeconomic factors. The final months of 2020 saw a more favourable situation in relation to the currency exchange rate with Argentina, giving Bolivian players hope for better prices and a reduction in smuggling from that country.
The ongoing formalisation of specialist alcoholic drinks retailing, particularly the activities of Cervecería Boliviana Nacional with the liquor store chain, Tiendas Ya, is expected to have a positive impact on beer sales during the forecast period. Indeed, the significant number of liquor stores engaged in the development of more formal operations is enhancing the official beer category’s capacity to fend off competition from smuggled products.
Beer sales are set to be concentrated amongst the low- and mid-income consumer segments during the forecast period, with rising sales supported by a return to more normal social and economic activity as the immediate threat from COVID-19 wanes. Consumption is expected to focus primarily on drinking mid-priced and economy beers at home.
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This report originates from Passport, our Beer research and analysis database.
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