William Grant & Sons UK (previously known as First Drinks) has released their annual spirits and Champagne report detailing current consumer trends and shopper habits as the country emerges from recession.
New research undertaken by the company in both the on and off-trade highlights the evolution of shoppers' habits particularly when it comes to seeking value in what they spend.
Gary Keogh, marketing director of William Grant & Sons UK, explained: "The market is more polarised than ever and it is premium brands which can really take advantage of this trend. Value can mean many things from functional benefits to packaging and personality, with brands such as Sailor Jerry and Hendrick's really embracing and benefitting from the latter."
In addition, the growth of scarce and desirable products is growing as consumers are being exposed to more and more choice. Other forms of scarcity are emerging in importance such as access to unusual experiences and knowledge. Seeking out something that is limited or unique in the way it is crafted, is increasingly common.
Premium spirits continue to drive market growth, particularly in the on-trade where value is up 13.7%. In the off-trade, value has increased by 6.4%, outperforming the growth of non-premium spirits which are up 4.5%.
Gin is also performing well; an explosion of new brands has helped fuel general consumer interest in the category. With premium gin growing at six and a half times the rate of mainstream gin, the opportunity remains for further growth.
Chris Mason, managing director of William Grant & Sons UK, commented: "This is an exciting time for our business as we take the next positive steps in our evolution. Becoming William Grant & Sons UK will allow us to benefit from the international footprint of our group, with its fine reputation as innovators and builders of premium, international brands.
"We are in a good position to drive long-term value for our outstanding portfolio of premium spirits by continued investment and strong working relationships with customers and our partners. This approach will enable us to deliver successful business solutions to our customers, to the benefit of their consumers."
On Trade Facts
• The on-trade spirits market is worth £5.4b, up 5.1%
• Spirits are the second largest drinks category in the on-trade, accounting for 18% of value sales
•77% of consumers would welcome bartender recommendation - many bars need to take advantage of this through staff training