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Top 10 travel retail drinks brands

The International Wine & Spirits Research (IWSR) has released its 2014 report on duty free trends of 2013, and with it the world’s biggest travel retail brands.

Total volumes of spirits in the travel retail market increased 1.4% in 2013 to reach 21.6 million nine-litre cases, with the top 100 brands accounting for 85% of this volume.

This year’s list is compiled against the backdrop of an increasingly unpredictable Asia-Pacific duty-free market, which dipped in 2013 following years of strong growth.

The previously “fast-growing” market declined by 4.4% in 2013 compared to 2012 with a number of key key markets, including Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia, recording a drop in volumes.

The IWSR said this was the first time since 2009 that a region had seen a loss in volumes. In contrast, travel retail across Europe and the Americas continued its upward trend.

The Americas saw a 4.2% rise in volumes, with Latin America, the Caribbean and North America all enjoying growth, with the region’s share of the global market set at 19.7%, ahead of Asia-Pacific at 17.7%.

Growth in Africa and the Middle East increased by 3% driven by the expansion of the Middle Eastern market, while Africa suffered the sharpest drop in sales down -9.6%, attributed to a recent downturn in tourism to Egypt.

Sales in Europe grew more slowly in 2013 than in the previous year (+1.5%), but the region increased its share of total volumes to 54%, reversing 2012’s drop in market share.

Eastern Europe and the Baltics was the fastest-growing sub-region posting a 9.7% increase in sales with a “revival in tourism” in southern Europe helping sales to rise by 2%, while central Europe and the Balkans also grew by 2%.

Scroll through to see which brands are currently ruling the travel retail market…

Source: The IWSR Database 2014. All volume figures are by number of nine-litre cases.

10. Finlandia

The second fastest-growing brand in the top 10 is Finlandia which grew 14% in 2013 to tip the 400,000-case mark, making its debut in the top 10 by pushing out Courvoisier which declined 7.3%.

Owner: Brown-Forman

2012 volumes: 354,400

2013 volumes: 403,800

Change: 14%

9. Hennessy

Hennessy achieved a modest 1.3% volume increase in 2013 within the travel retail sector  helped in part by its first House of Hennessy pop-up boutique which ran at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 earlier this year for five months. Its stay was extended by a month longer than anticipated following “extraordinary interest” wrapping up in March. Travellers were given the chance to sample the range, which included the rare eaux-de-vies used to create Paradis Imperial.

Owner: LVMH

2012 volumes: 476,600

2013 volumes: 482,800

Change: 1.3%

8. Ballantine’s

The first of Pernod Ricard’s three top 10 brands, Ballantine’s increased its volumes by 3% in 2013 securing its eighth place position in the travel retail market. Outside of travel retail Ballantine’s is the world’s second biggest Scotch whisky brand.

Owner: Pernod Ricard

2012 volumes: 564,400

2013 volumes: 581,200

Change: 3.0%

7. Smirnoff

Despite being the world’s biggest spirit brand, Smirnoff only manages seventh place in the travel retail line up. The brand saw its overall global sales, including those outside of the travel retail market, dip last year dropping to 26.1m nine-litre cases from 26.3m in 2012. This year the brand launched what it claimed to be a “pioneering new vodka variant” in the form of Smirnoff White in travel retail. Most recently, the brand launched Smirnoff Gold Apple, an apple-flavoured vodka flecked with edible gold.

Owner: Diageo

2012 volumes: 623,000

2013 volumes: 620,700

Change: -0.4%

6. Baileys

Sales of Baileys within the travel retail sector dropped by 3.6% in 2013, with its global sales remaining flat at 6.5m nine-litre cases. Earlier this year the brand was awarded the Design & Packaging gong at The Drinks Business Awards for its rococo design for Baileys Chocolat Luxe. The whisky-infused chocolate drink, made using 30g of Belgian chocolate, has been described as the “ultimate molten chocolate drinking experience”. Last summer, the brand launched a vanilla and cinnamon expression in the US.

Owner: Diageo

2012 volumes: 698,400

2013 volumes: 673,300

Change: -3.6%

5. Bacardi

Jumping one place to fifth and knocking Baileys to fourth is Bacardi, which managed a slight 0.1% increase in sales in 2013, the same year it entered into a new Scotch whisky travel retail partnership with World Duty Free Group – Glen Deveron.

Owner: Bacardi

2012 volumes: 695,300

2013 volumes: 696,100

Change: 0.1%

4. Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal saw travel retail volumes slip by 4.6% last forcing it out of the top three and into fourth place. However its position within the travel retail sector is impressive given that it does not even rank in the world’s top 10 biggest spirits brands. 

Owner: Pernod Ricard

2012 volumes: 897,900

2013 volumes: 856,900

Change: -4.6%

3. Jack Daniel’s

Jack Daniel’s saw the biggest growth in 2013 with volumes increasing by 20%, overtaking Chivas to take third place. Its owner, Brown-Forman, reported strong growth in its travel-retail sales for 2014 noting in its most recent annual report: “Global travel retail collectively delivered 13% underlying net sales growth (+18% reported), driven by price increases, successful innovation and new product launches.”

Owner: Brown-Forman

2012 volumes: 730,500

2013 volumes: 876,500

Change: 20%

2. Absolut

The world’s number two travel retail brand is Absolut which sustained a decline of 10.4% in 2013 with losses said to have come largely from a drop in sales across the Americas. However its was able to maintain its number two position by some 20,000 cases.

Owner: Pernod Ricard

2012 volumes: 1,001,800

2013 volumes: 897,500

Change: -10.4%

1. Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker defended its position as the world’s number one travel retail brand this year, despite suffering a decline of 4.5%. The whisky brand’s slide was attributed to the “massive declines” in important Asia-Pacific markets. It is still the world’s most powerful and the second biggest spirit brand in the world.

Owner: Diageo

2012 volumes: 2,319,600

2013 volumes: 2,216,2

Change: -4.5%

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