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Global alcohol consumption to return to pre-Covid levels by 2023

Published:  03 June, 2021

The global beverage alcohol market is showing positive signs of recovery and is projected to grow 2.9% in volume by the end of 2021, according IWSR research.

Moreover, the research predicted that total alcohol consumption would return to pre-Covid levels by 2023, with consumption steadily increasing through to 2025 — long-term volume recovery is forecasted at 1.5% compound annual growth rate 2021 to 2025.

Recovery would be boosted by the industry pivoting rapidly in key markets, the momentum of ecommerce and RTDs, and increasing sophistication of the at-home occasion in many markets, said IWSR.

“In many global markets, Covid-19 accelerated the impact and growth of key industry drivers, such as the development of ecommerce, premiumisation, the rise of the ‘home premise,’ moderation, and the need for convenience in product formats,” said Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR.

“These are the trends that will also underpin the industry’s resilience as it pivots to meet consumers where they are in the years to come. Additionally, across many markets, some segments of the population now have significantly more disposable income than they did in 2019, some of which will be spent on beverage alcohol products,” he said.  

Based on IWSR’s examination of data from 160 countries across the globe, total beverage alcohol volume decreased by 6.2% globally in 2020, impacted by lockdowns and restrictions implemented around the world. 

The decline, though an unprecedented downturn, was less than previously forecast as several factors helped the industry, such as the acceleration of ecommerce (up 45% from 2019, to reach US$29bn in 2020), growth of RTDs, strong at-home consumption in key markets, and resilience and growth in the US and China, said IWSR.

Another pre-Covid trend set to continue to accelerate alcohol recovery is product premiumisation, with IWSR forecasting that premium-and-above wine and spirits will increase by 25.6% in total volume 2020-2025 compared to 0.8% volume growth over the same period for brands in lower price tiers.