Sales were bolstered by the increasing popularity of flavoured vodka. Smirnoff Vanilla, which was launched in late 2011, made significant gains throughout 2012 as consumer awareness increased following a strong advertising campaign. As a consequence, however, there was a fall in share for other Smirnoff variants such as Smirnoff Blue, its share remained marginal but its sales declined by a sharp 46%. Volume sales of spirits declined by 1% in 2012. Manufacturers faced a number of challenges, including growing price pressure, numerous pub closures and restricted consumer budgets. As a result, it was no surprise that the on-trade performed considerably poorer than the off-trade, with the former registering a fall of 3% in volume sales, albeit slightly up on last year’s performance. Inevitably, with consumers looking to save money, sales migrated from the expensive on-trade channel to the off-trade. The off-trade was boosted by the growing popularity of cocktails and increased spirits consumption at home. Spirits faces two combined threats, in common with all alcoholic drinks, over the forecast period. The first, a long-term trend, is that of consumers’ increasing health awareness, with many seeking to cut back on their alcohol consumption. The second is the uncertainty of the economic climate over the next five years.
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