Whiskies has been a standout category within spirits around the world in recent years, with the still-dominant Scotch category increasingly sharing the spotlight with the vibrant and growing American, Irish and Japanese whiskies. Rising incomes in key markets and strong premiumisation trends should keep category growth strong in the years to come, although there are also threats looming in the form of mindful drinking trends, innovation in rival categories and trade disputes.
This report comes in PPT.
Global demand for whiskies rose at an average of 2% annually over 2013-2018, cutting across all major whisky categories, as well as all geographical regions. Growth was even stronger in value terms, a sign of the success of premiumisation trends pushing consumers in the direction of value-added products.
The major current consumers of whiskies, notably India, Japan and the US, are still growing strongly, and will remain the critical components of the global market. A handful of well-established European markets, like France, are showing weakness but this has been compensated for by surging growth in developing markets like Mexico, Russia and Turkey.
Overall, the single largest factor behind whisky growth is rising incomes, especially in the developing world. Growth is coming primarily from the two largest categories of whiskies – blended Scotch and locally-produced Indian whiskies – both of which are reliant on developing world consumers for rising consumption.
Scotches, especially blended ones, are the core of the category in most of the world. This will remain the case, but the growth rates of Scotches have fallen behind American, Irish and Japanese products. The global outlook is increasingly fragmented as a result, as non-Scotches rise in importance.
Despite the overall good news for global whiskies, there remain challenges ahead. In the short term, macroeconomic and political troubles will be the most important issue for the category, especially a wave of new trade barriers in the EU and US. In the longer term, declining drinking rates among young people pose the most important threat to consumption of whiskies.
This is the aggregation of whisk(e)y, brandy and Cognac, white spirits, rum, tequila, liqueurs and other spirits.See All of Our Definitions
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