The spirits scoring double-digit growth in Australia

After a rollercoaster two years, IRI says Australia is reopening to a ‘roaring twenties’, with a renewed optimism and a thriving cocktail culture that has driven huge growth for premium spirits.

The data analytics and market research company has released its 2022 FMCG Outlook Report, which notes that lengthy lockdowns in the on-premise led Australians recreated their favourite cocktails at home.

“At-home mixology drove glass spirits growth (+15.7%) and supercharged demand for larger pack formats,” the report said. “And we’re going bolder for more indulgent varieties to entertain in our home bars.”

“Liqueurs are experiencing strong value growth (12.4%), while aromatics are also crowd pleasers. Spiced rum alone recorded +$25.7million to become Australia’s sixth largest segment in 2021.

“Nostalgia also saw drinkers recreate pub classics – a trend that will likely continue. Smirniff (+32.1%), Jack Daniels (+12.8%) and Wild Turkey (+16.2%) enjoyed phenomenal growth while while soda water, tonic water and cola are all jostling for top position on our home bar carts.”

Orange is the new pink in spirits

IRI has also proclaimed that the reign of pink spirits is over, describing it as the “pink decline”. It’s been superseded by Australians embracing different flavour combinations led by citrus.

For example, Gordons Mediterranean Orange Gin generated $5.6million in sales alone since its February 2021 launch.

“We anticipate orange-themed extensions to continue to fuel spirits growth,” IRI said. “Trends in flavours are reflected globally and are expected to continue. Jameson Orange is growing twice as fast as the whiskey category in the UK with sales +15 per cent globally. This trend is targeted towards younger aged novelty seekers.”

Shopping local

While premium spirits are seeing huge growth, with Johnny Walker Blue Label up 45.5% and Grey Goose up 29.2%, the biggest winner was the Yarra Valley’s Four Pillars, which surged a massive 60.8%.

IRI noted that Australians are keen to shop local and crave a return to sensorial experiences.

“Localism took centre stage through bushfires, floods and the pandemic,” the report said. “And Australians have not looked back. Over nine in 10 (93%) are more likely to buy Australian made than from any other country. We continue to embrace grassroots initiative like Buy from the Bush – and so too does big business as provenance continues to fill our shopping baskets.”

It’s a trend that carries through to the shopper’s bricks and mortar experience, with two-thirds of Australians (66%) prepared to pay higher prices to support small business.

Bricks and mortar also remains key to omni-channel retail success, despite Australia (finally) truly embracing online technology, with one million more Australians taking up shopping online alone.

“Retailers who held onto their physical spaces might just be on the podium when it comes to 2022 omni-channel trends,” IRI said. “While the purpose of physical retail spaces may have shifted, they remain important to the shopper journey – and in many cases, the end point of buy-online-pickup-in-store and buy-online-pickup-at-curb strategies. Just because shoppers are buying online, it doesn’t mean they don’t also like to shop in-store – for many, it was lockdown leisure. 2022 will drive sensorial activation in physical outlets.”

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