?raft beer in Ukraine made major losses in 2020 as it is mainly distributed in horeca and drink specialists, which were partly closed following the outbreak of COVID-19, while flavoured/mixed lager also declined – because of consumers shifting to core/simple tastes during the crisis. Economy and mid-priced domestic beer recorded the smallest decreases, though super-premium gained share in retail because of horeca closures.
Small Ukrainian beer breweries suffered a major hit from COVID-19, as reported by the owners of the breweries. Around 130 small breweries in Ukraine reported 90% falls in their sales, as a result of fewer occasions for consumption, as well as downtrading and a shift of preference to more popular brands of large producers.
In new product development news in 2020, Novi Produkty Group, which is present in cider/perry and RTDs (along with other drinks categories) launched a craft beer product, Zhashkivskiy Kaban in July. It was supported by a summer advertising campaign in the form of a short animated video, which was featured on the largest TV channels in the country, including: New Channel; ICTV, STB, M1, Inter, NTN, K1, Zoom, Mega, Enter-film, Ukraine, and UFO-TV.
Constant promotions from the sales leaders caused the average unit price of beer to decrease in 2020 and more aggressive competition is expected in 2021. Trends seen in 2020 will remain: less decline in domestic economy and mid-priced lagers and increases in the super-premium segment, with demand shifting from upper mainstream to lower mainstream because of reduced purchasing power.
As a result of economic downturn given the financial fallout of COVID-19, it is expected that the previously popular premiumisation trend will be impacted, due to lower consumer disposable incomes. This is evidenced by the steepest decline in lager being projected for imported premium lager, with domestic economy lager to see the most positive performance (albeit still in decline).
Among the domestic beer producers able to remain in business, there is still great scope for developments within craft variants. This potential is unlikely to diminish, despite the fact that the premiumisation trend has been adversely affected and many consumers are looking towards more economical, or at least mid-priced, beer products.
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