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Thai beer sales slow as fizz goes out of consumer spending

Thailand’s high household debt spells disaster for the beer industry as drinkers cut consumption despite heavy investment from some breweries, reports The Nation.

Cheap…but perhaps not cheap enough for Thailand’s cash-strapped population

According to Singha Corp, the brewer of Singha and Leo Beers, the beer market is projected to surge by only three to four per cent to about Bt180 billion this year.

Chutchai Wiratyosin, marketing director of Singha Corp stated last week that the beer market was flat in the last two quarters, but the company’s sales grew 3 per cent last quarter.

Singha Corp is still the market leader with a 72 per cent share, followed by Thai Beverage – the brewer of Chang beer – with 24 per cent and Heineken with 4 per cent.

Singha Corp targets Bt200bn in sales this year, up from Bt120 billion last year, but beer will sink significantly to about 60 per cent of its sales from 80 per cent.

Bhurit Bhirombhakdi, director of Singha Corp, said the group has spent about Bt5 billion on expanding its beer and bottled water plant in Nakhon Pathom’s Bang Len district to serve the company’s more proactive penetration into other Asia markets such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Vichate Tantiwanich, senior vice president for corporate affairs at Thai Beverage, said that sales could be bolstered by Europeans buying beer and spirits which are often cheaper in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia.

“As purchasing power has been dropping in Europe, consumers have turned to buying products from Asia but I cannot guess right now if purchasing power will shift to Asia or slow down. However, I don’t believe that purchasing power in Thailand and the rest of Asia will absolutely disappear,” he said.

The longer report can be read here.

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