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The polarisation of the US spirits market

US control state sales rise by 4.4%. The super-premium and value segments of spirits each grew

According to GuestMetrics, based on its database of POS transactions from restaurants and bars, looking at the four price segments in the spirits category, the two price segments in the middle have been under-performing – the upper and lower ends of the price spectrum. "Comparing the first three quarters of 2012 against the same period in 2011, the super-premium and value segments have performed the best in the category, while the two price segments in the middle have under-performed," said GuestMetrics CEO Bill Pecoriello.

According to Pecoriello, during that time period, the super-premium and value segments of spirits each grew their category share by about +40bps from the prior year, while the two price segments in the middle of the pricing spectrum under-performed, with high-end premium's share holding in at flattish and premium spirits losing -80bps of share.

"This disparity in share performance across the four price segments in spirits suggests a 'hollowing out the middle', which is consistent with what we've been seeing in other consumer products categories, even outside of the alcohol and beverage space," said Pecoriello. "The consumer appears to be making a decision to either trade up to more expensive brands in the spirits category that have greater differentiation, or conversely, to trade down to value brands. As a result, brands in the middle price segments appear to be getting squeezed."

During October, nine-litre spirits case sales in the control states were up 4.4% compared to same month last year sales. Rolling 12-month volumes grew 3.7%, up from September's 3.4%. Iowa, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming reported monthly growth rates exceeding their 12-month volume trends.

Control state spirits shelf dollars grew 6.6% during October while trending at 6.3% during the past 12 months. Iowa, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming reported growth rates at, or exceeding, their 12-month trends.

Price/Mix for October is 2.2%, down from September's 2.8%.

During October, Irish whiskey, with 0.8% share of the control states' spirits market, was the fastest-growing category with 20.9% reported and a 12-month trend of 19.4%. Vodka, with 35% share, grew during the same periods at 5.2% and 5.9%. Brandy/Cognac, Canadian whisky, cocktails, cordials, domestic whiskey, Irish Whiskey and Scotch grew at rates that exceeded their 12-month trends.

October's wine case sales growth rate was 6.6%. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Utah, Mississippi, Montgomery County Maryland and Wyoming reported 6.2%, 4.7%, 6.6%, 11.6%, 8.1% and 16.1% respectively. October's rolling 12-month wine volume growth, 4.4%, is up from September's 4.1%.

by S. C.
03 december 2012, World News > America

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