Despite a low decline in 2021 as a result of a slight shift back to on-trade as restrictions in the United Arab Emirates eased, volume sales of spirits through off-trade remained elevated compared to 2019, and mainly driven by the dominant category of whiskies. In particular, consumption of premium whiskies is on the rise.
Driven by social media in addition to being able to sample a wide variety of offerings via on-trade, consumer knowledge of whiskies and its variants is increasing. A wide selection within off-trade and the mixology trend in line with further home consumption has also driven experimentation of affordable luxuries.
Whiskies that are sold in significant volumes originate from the UK in the premium segment, while lower price points are driven by brands from India. The mid-priced segment is underdeveloped.
Traditionally the more popular channel for consumption of spirits in the United Arab Emirates, on-trade volume sales are set to marginally decline in 2022 following a surge in demand in line with improving tourism and the success of Expo 2020, especially as the country is considered a prime tourist destination. Nevertheless, while the number of foodservice outlets is predicted to increase, supporting an overall positive performance for spirits through on-trade over the forecast period, the channel is set to lose further share to off-trade, with the latter offering more affordable price points in comparison.
Over the forecast period, food/drink/tobacco specialists is expected to remain the leading distribution channel for spirits in the United Arab Emirates. However, off-trade is likely to take an omnichannel approach to reaching a wider audience.
Despite having a negligible presence at the end of the review period, low and non-alcoholic spirits has potential to gain in popularity in the United Arab Emirates moving forward, especially those that are designed as a base for non-alcoholic cocktails. Consumers are starting to follow healthier lifestyle as well as displaying a preference for premium cocktails made from lower ABV alcoholic drinks.
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This is the aggregation of whisk(e)y, brandy and Cognac, white spirits, rum, tequila, liqueurs and other spirits.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Spirits research and analysis database.
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