Aperol owner Campari Group reported double-digit sales growth for the first quarter of 2022, with the bitter orange aperitif soaring 71.9%.
For the first three months of this year, the Italian drinks company has announced that organic sales increase by 29.4% to €534.8 million (US$563million).
Aperol’s first quarter of 2022 results were led by its core Italian market (up by 101.4%), Germany (up by 79.2%), the US (up by 51.2%), France (up by 79.5%) and the rest of Europe.
While some of the sales boost comes from bars reopening in Europe, a large portion also comes from both bars and individuals buying more in advance of the company preparing to increase prices by the “mid-single-digit and upwards” to beat inflation.
Chief Executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz told Reuters that stockpiling accounted for nearly half of the increase in sales.
“In difficult times, you cannot treat yourself, maybe you skip the vacation but you can go for the nice bottle of Scotch, cognac or bourbon,” he said.
For Aperol, “we would expect 20% growth rate, not to be crazy, going forward for many, many years”, Kunze-Concewitz said, underlining the product still had room to grow.
As for the other reasons Aperol sales are booming, he told analysts: “We’ve seen the Campari Spritz and the Aperol Spritz go also into the meal occasion, brunch launch, informal dinner. So that’s in that we have more traction overall across the portfolio.”
A shift in spirit consumption trends is also at play.
“More people in and around Europe are making a pivot to lighter drinks due to the increasing value of health,” Jason Slark, wine steward of Bar El Borrachero in Venice, told Paste magazine.
“There were two major influences that pushed Aperol Spritz to the top: a rising consumer trend of ‘light’ drinks for social engagements and pro-natural young adults who want to stray away from artificial agents.”
He believes that more people are coming to hard spirits later and drinking less of them.
“They’re no longer looking for a martini served straight up or Jägermeister shots but cultural, mild and mindful recipes to add to their experience,” he said.
The rise of the Aperol Spritz RTD
Aperol Spritz ready-to-serve bottles are now available in 10 markets globally, including Australia.
“The Aperol Spritz Ready To Enjoy are up 33.4%,” Kunze-Concewitz told analysts. “Bear in mind that we have this SKU only in 10 markets. We could sell a lot more, but we’re not allowing the markets to launch it yet.
“There was a very huge demand from our markets to actually introduce it alongside the mother brand. And we’ve resisted that for many, many years, and we’ve waited actually for the penetration of Aperol per capita to reach a certain level before we let it free. So there was huge demand from the market. And now we’ve actually put it into 10 markets, this will gradually increase over the years as the penetration of the Aperol Sprtiz and the mother brand increases.
“In terms of cannibalization, we’re hardly seeing anything, we’re seeing it’s a very different it is focused on the off-premise and it’s more for conviviality, particularly. If people are at home alone or just with their partner, and they might not want to open a bottle for sake. And so they go for the ready-to-enjoy. So it’s really complementary to the mother brand.”
The Australian story
In Australia, Campari Group’s largest market in the Asia Pacific region, sales were up 5.4%.
“Good growth, I must say, against quite a tough comp base,” Kunze-Concewitz told analysts. “Last year, we were up 22.6%. Core brands, Wild Turkey bourbon bottle as well as RTD, Espolon and Campari did very well. And this despite severe ocean freight constraints, which really impacted our performance in the quarter in that market.
“Wild Turkey RTDs in Australia are also up double-digit despite supply constraints and logistical issues.”
“The organic growth of Australia versus the pre-pandemic is up 51.6%, again, quite solid, demonstrating leading to a three-year CAGR of 14.9%. The rest of Asia grew 50% with a very strong performance in South Korea, driven by the high-end offerings of Wild Turkey.”