By James Atkinson

Christmas spending on liquor is forecast to rise by 10 per cent this year, driven by Australians' growing appetite for premium drinking options.

Liquor retail is forecast to be the second fastest growing segment in Christmas spending behind online sales, which will surge by 34.4 per cent, according to research released this week by IBISWorld.

"December is always one of the most significant trading times for liquor retailers, and this year will be no exception," the researcher said.

"IBISWorld anticipates spending will be up 10 per cent from last year, with our current taste for premium wines, cocktails, craft beers and cider strongly influencing revenue growth."

In a separate report released this month, IBISWorld forecasted Australians will fork out $33 billion on alcoholic beverages in 2012-13, with premium drinks increasingly selected over traditional beers.

IBISWorld General Manager (Australia), Karen Dobie, said Australia's alcohol spending is expected to increase by 20.5 per cent over the next five years to reach $39.9 billion by 2017-18 – with the trend towards premium beverages and rising alcohol prices driving growth.

"While Australian alcohol consumption is expected to fall to a decade low of 9.80 litres per capita this year, down 2.4 per cent from 2011, IBISWorld anticipates the move towards more premium products will see alcohol revenue continue to rise," Dobie said.

"In 2012-13, Australians are expected to spend $33.1 billion on alcohol – with $15.9 billion being spent in pubs and bars and $17.2 billion in liquor retailers. Looking towards 2017-18, significant growth is expected across both sectors as the retail environment and consumer sentiment strengthen."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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