The IWSR Global Trends Report 2018 examines pivotal trends around the world – what’s driving the markets and where the biggest opportunities lie for the drinks industry – for example online channels, which are revolutionising the beverage sector.
According to the report, “e-commerce sales are rapidly gaining traction across the globe, creating a new frontier for beverage alcohol sales.
“A new tech-savvy generation of consumers are turning their back on traditional retail, opting for the convenience and simplicity of ordering online. The speed and ease of service provided by on-demand delivery platforms such as Drizly in the US or Bevy in the UK is one of the fundamental drivers of online purchases.
“In addition, on-site sales at local producer-level and drive-through liquor stores are catering to the demand for more convenient purchase options.”
Premium & above demand
The report points out that in North America, “Brands emphasizing high-quality production methods and location-based connections continue to outperform the market”.
In Europe, “The most dynamic market segment across Europe remains premium-and-above wine and spirits, notably still and sparkling wine, whiskey and gin”.
The emergence of pop-up restaurants, food fairs, concerts and other event-based occasions have all contributed to the rise of the ‘new’ premise where experience sits at the heart of the occasion.
“With brand activations often tightly integrated into the activity, these non-traditional events and venues are challenging the long-held assumption of specific products for specific occasions,” states the report, “Product innovation and the blurring of category lines are both helping to further this trend.”
A growing awareness of health accompanied by the general trend in this direction has led to what has been dubbed ‘mindful drinking’.
This has created demand for low- or no-alcohol beverages, particularly among the new generation of consumers reaching legal drinking age.
The 2018 report into global trends points out that, “Lower-ABV variants of popular spirits brands are growing rapidly at the expense of traditional lines,” adding that, “The ‘wellness’ trend has spurred a move away from artificial flavours to lighter and more natural ingredients.”
The report also addresses the development of cannabis drinks: “The desire for low-alcohol drinks also lends itself well to the growing cannabis drinks trend. There is a growing industry for non-alcoholic cannabis drinks and CBD-infused alcoholic cocktails.
“Beer producers are looking to develop non-alcoholic beers containing CBD. This trend is most prominent in the US and Canada, but CBD cocktails can also be found in the UK.”
Specifically in relation to cannabis drinks, the report warns, “This looks likely to be one of the biggest disruptors the drink industry has ever seen”.
The IWSR compiled the report through on-the-ground research in-market, with over 1,600 face-to-face interviews with key industry players.