Global alcohol market value surpasses 2019 levels

The value of the global alcohol market grew by 12% to reach US$1.17 trillion in 2021, making up for the 4% covid-driven losses in 2020, new data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis has found.

In the same period, alcohol volume grew by 3% after losses of 6% the year prior.

The new report from IWSR, which examines data from 160 countries, forecasts that the global alcohol market will surpass 2019 volumes within the next two years.

“Our latest data shows encouraging signs for the continued recovery of beverage alcohol,” said Mark Meek, chief executive at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.

“The market rebounded far more quickly than expected and, in value terms, 2021 is now above 2019.

“Premiumisation continues unabated; beverage alcohol ecommerce also continues to grow, although at a more moderate rate; and the trend towards moderation continues, with no/low-alcohol products seeing ongoing growth from a relatively low base.

“Despite the industry’s current and future challenges – ongoing supply-chain disruptions, inflation, war in Ukraine, travel retail’s slow return to pre-2019 levels, and China’s zero-Covid policy – beverage alcohol is in a strong position.”

Premium-plus spirits (priced US$22.50 or more) are forecasted to grow by more than 50% in value in the Americas between 2021-2026, over 40% in Africa and the Middle East during the same period, over 20% in Europe and just under 20% in Asia-Pacific.

“Challenges remain, including whether bars and restaurants will continue to attract consumers who have grown comfortable with ecommerce and at-home consumption; whether consumers will accept price increases on their preferred brands; and whether inflation and supply-chain issues will lead to consumers down-trading and gravitating towards local rather than imported products,” added Meek.

“We’re living in an age of uncertainty, and these are uncharted waters for the industry. However, as we have seen in previous crises, this is a very resilient industry sector.”