IWSR: Status spirits to recover quickly from COVID-19

Research conducted by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis showed that the value of the status spirits market (brands that retail for US$100 or more) is $8.3bn, excluding baijiu.

The research was conducted between 2014-18 and showed a value compound annual growth rate of 7%, which is 5% higher than the overall spirits industry.

“Though we conducted our study prior to the current COVID-19 situation, when we look at similar past events, such as SARS and the 2008 financial crisis, luxury goods and status spirits in particular have always recovered to previous levels,” said Mark Meek, CEO at IWSR.

IWSR data shows that between 2008-2012, global prestige-plus spirits grew 82% in volume, and almost 230% in value, which reinforces the resilience of high-end spirits after economic challenges.

Meek added: “The majority of status spirits are most often sold in fine wine and spirits retail stores and via ecommerce – more so than in bars and restaurants – which bodes well for these products in this current climate.”

Status baijiu, almost all of which is sold in China and global travel retail, sits at $33.2bn in value. 

The IWSR Status Spirits Strategic Study examined eight key spirits categories in eight major focus markets including travel retail, which together account for 93% of the global status spirits market by value.

In the ultra-prestige sector, individual expressions such as Louis XIII and Hennessy are the primary drivers of the Cognac category, while interest in scotch is often based on a strategy of offering products in a series.

Brands such as The Macallan, Glenfarclas, The Balvenie, Laphroaig, Dalmore, Glenlivet, and others have generated several hundred million dollars in revenue for their limited-edition collections and annual releases.

Another developing area in the status scotch market is the sale of individual scotch whisky casks which usually command sizeable sums. This growing interest in scotch casks, already estimated at $40m, will likely inspire the emergence of similar models built around bourbon, rum, and US whiskey.

The IWSR Status Spirits Strategic Study also includes market-specific comprehensive on-and-off channel and ecommerce analysis, detailed company and brand level competitive data, and consumer analysis.