Five years ago, mainstream alcohol segments (like clear and green bottled beers, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir wines, and bourbon RTDs) drove the majority of the alcohol sales growth in New Zealand.
More recently, niche products have emerged, and Kiwis are increasingly opting for more premium and unique beverage offerings. This will cause growth to be pushed out further to the edges in 2018, as consumers seek new flavours, new formats and craft product offerings.
While beer in New Zealand is growing behind the overall grocery and traditional liquor market, newer formats (including craft) are certainly outpacing growth in beer. Craft beer continues to experience double digit growth in New Zealand, while markets like the U.S., which are arguably several years ahead, are seeing decelerating growth as they reach maturity.
While craft beer is set to continue growing across both the traditional liquor channel as well as grocery, it is predicted that craft spirits will follow the same trend in 2018. Spirits are seeing huge growth rates in smaller segments such as single malt and Asian whiskeys as well as more established segments like Irish whiskies. Consumer tastes for new and different flavours and brands have stretched to flavoured bourbons—which is experiencing almost 30% growth. The success that has historically been seen by vodka in premium spirits, is now being seen in segments like gin, with premium gin set to drive all of the growth within gin.
As retailers continue providing incremental range options to satisfy the ever demanding Kiwi consumer, understanding what consumers are after has never been more important. For every growth trend seen in-store, manufacturers and retailers need to remember that there is a consumer motivation behind that trend.
When looking at consumption by age, tastes can differ drastically, with Boomers drinking mostly beer and wine, while Millennials have a more varied drinking palette. Having said that, it is predicted that in 2018 brands will place more emphasis on reaching consumers based on their needs/attitudes and less emphasis on their age/gender.