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Power Brands survey proves reversal in premiumisation trend

Vodka has proved its dynamism, while Champagne has taken a hit in 2010’s Power Brands survey of the world’s strongest wines and spirits.

The results, reported in full in May’s drinks business, cover a full year of recessionary trading and conclusively show that the “premiumisation” trend of the last 15 years has stalled.

All of the top 10 brands fell in score this year when rated according to a range of subjective measures by a high-profile group of panellists, as well as volume sales data for 2009.

Last year’s leader Smirnoff suffered a 3% fall in its total score, ensuring its number one position in the table once more as second place Johnnie Walker showed a massive 20% drop, lowering its score to just a few percentage points above Bacardi.

The vodka category as a whole showed resilience to the global economic downturn, and while leading, longstanding premium and super-premium brands showed declining scores this year, other labels from this category broke onto the chart.

In particular, Constellation’s low-priced Swedish Svedka vodka burst onto the survey at number 46, having increased its sales during 2009 by nearly one million cases. Russian Standard, Wyborowa and Three Olive vodkas were also new entrants.

High profile exits from 2010’s list included Dom Pérignon, Lanson, Nicolas Feuillatte and Taittinger, highlighting the impact of the recession on the Champagne category.

Compiler of the survey was brand valuation agency Intangible Business. Joint managing director of the company Stuart Whitwell told the drinks business: “The trend of the last 15 years, premiumisation, has reversed.

“The recession has driven consumers to value brands and less consumption, and the question is, does that change the landscape for the medium term or will the situation quickly rectify and go back to normal?”

Concluding he said: “All we know is that once you’ve lost a customer it’s hard to get them back.”

Patrick Schmitt, 12.05.2010

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