Alcohol brands have been dealt a challenge with their marketing campaigns in light of new research form Euromonitor International which shows global alcohol consumption has declined for the first time this century.
The decline has been attributed to a slump in oil and commodity prices, currency volatility and economic headwinds in China.
The volume of alcoholic beverages consumed in 2015 fell by 0.7 per cent to 248bn litres, around 1.7bn less than the previous year.
China’s economic difficulties have largely contributed to the decline given that it is the world’s biggest alcohol market and accounts for a quarter of global consumption.
The Asian powerhouse recorded a 3.5 per cent drop amid economic difficulties and a clampdown in extravagant lifestyles.
Political tensions, economic sanctions and tumbling oil prices took their toll on the Russian and Ukrainian markets where consumption fell by 8 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. This in turn suggests an uphill battle for vodka brands which generate around a third of their global sales in the region.
Globally, vodka and rum have been hit the hardest by the lower consumption while tequila and bourbon remained stable and a resurgence in cognac helped boost the spirits sector by 0.8 per cent.
Discussing the figures Euromonitor’s senior alcoholic drinks analyst, Spiros Malandrakis, said: “While terms such as authenticity and craftsmanship are losing traction, the trajectories of sophistication, moderation, perceived exotic credentials, accessibility and aspirational attributes remain the key driving forces fuelling pockets of buoyancy.
“Premium English gin, Irish and Japanese whiskey and dark and non-alcoholic beer are the flag bearers of growth and it is no coincidence that those also happen to be the segments gaining further momentum with the ever-important millennial demographic in mature western markets.”
Euromonitor has forecast a recovery in alcohol consumption this year, rising by 1.3 per cent to 251.3bn litres.