By Shane T Williams in Dubai
The Australian liquor industry will experience growth of $1.7 billion or 3.6 per cent per annum over the next three years, predicts Nielsen Pacific executive director of liquor services, Michael Walton.
Addressing more than 200 delegates yesterday at the 2014 Liquor Marketing Group (LMG) conference in Dubai, Walton forecasted a return to long term average growth in the grocery and liquor sector.
"The consumer mood is encouraging, discretionary retailer spending and consumer confidence is up while people are generally more positive about their finances,” he said.
Walton said that more than half of the predicted growth ($900 million) will come from beer and cider alone. The other growth opportunities are premium plays: Premium packaged beer, wine over $15 and premium spirits.
Walton said that retailers looking to take full advantage of this growth will need a digital strategist.
He said consumers are increasingly buying alcohol and in particular wine on the internet, with the 65+ demographic being the largest single section of the population purchasing wine in this fashion.
Walton continued with some familiar themes as he addressed the nation’s largest independent liquor marketing group incorporating the Bottlemart, Down Under Cellars and Sip'N Save banner groups along with the big box retailer Harry Brown.
"Low prices do not differentiate in the grocery and liquor sector. Consumers say it does though their actions don't reflect this,” he said.
"Retailers should be thinking value.”
He warned retailers not to play on price alone, be competitive and know their value proposition.
Walton said that in spite of aggressive pricing and advertising by Coles and Woolworths, only one per cent of consumers believe prices have gone down.
Underlining this point, he said that price rates 26 out of 26 different drivers of retailer choice for consumers.
The LMG 2014 Dubai conference is experiencing a 'dry day' today, Monday 14 October, due to a public holiday in the UAE.
Regardless, delegates are in high spirits with numerous activities planned for the week ahead.