6 trends for 2016


Market reportWhat are the big trends for 2016? Will rum make a comeback? Are Old World reds still king? Who is driving premiumisation? Looking back at the year that was, our Market Insights team identify six trends for 2016.

Older consumers driving premiumisation

2016 will continue to challenge assumptions that trends and premiumisation matter most to east London hipsters. While premium boutique spirits have been most associated with Urban Professionals, the groups actually registering an uptake in spirits consumption in 2015 were older affluent drinkers, Mature Foodies and Moneyed Minorities. They have driven continued gin growth (+11%) in the On Trade and, as bigger at-home drinkers, helped transfer this to the Off Trade (+4%). There are many opportunities to engage older, affluent consumers with new, distinct and premium products: high spending older consumers appear to be largely responsible for the resurgence of malt whisky (+20%) in the On Trade.

Old world opportunity

White wine is winning over affluent drinkers, which correlates with more people drinking new wave aromatic styles. However, while the likes of Picpoul are proving persuasive, we believe that there are fewer new and interesting reds on wine lists, particularly as only one in 200 drinkers recognise the supposedly on-trend Bierzo. However, with awareness of varieties such as Barbera and Dolcetto on the up, now is the time to act and revitalise your red offering.

Changes in multiple retail

It’s widely known that retailers are reducing their wine ranges – Tesco’s highly anticipated range reset went live in October 2015 and Morrison’s and Asda have made big changes too, following Sainsbury’s by doing away with half price promotions in 2014. As they try to win back sales, we’ll see more innovative displays, new shelf layouts and aggressive marketing of wine in-store. However, we expect to only really feel the effects in 2016. Growing discounter ranges and innovative indie propositions will continue to put the big retailers under pressure.

Continued convergence of beer styles

Though they’ve driven diversity in the beer category, the biggest impact of craft brewers has been to give new life to popular styles, such as lager and pale ale. As ales get lighter and the lager market premiumises (in terms of preference and sales, up 7% in the On Trade and 3% in Off Trade), the distinction between these styles is becoming hazier. 

20% of pints sold in central London are craft, compared to only 3% in north-east England and 1% in Wales, highlighting a big opportunity for the reinvention of beer outside London. Specific sub-categories will start to matter less and the communication of flavour and provenance will be key to success. The brands that do this well will be the ones to drive the craft beer trend beyond London.

Experience-led nights out

We expect 2016 to be the year that the On Trade pays Big Weekenders some much-deserved attention. This generation is less boozy and more health conscious than their predecessors, so it’s not surprising that the wet-led pubs and nightclubs that used to be their mainstay are in decline. We need to recalibrate our expectations: although not on par with affluent Urban Professionals, Big Weekenders are also sophisticated and aspirational, and deserve more experience-led venues that fit their needs and tempt them back to the On Trade.

Rum's the word

Although rum volumes have risen around 10% in the last five years, this growth has been for standard brands, meaning that the category has not premiumised to the same extent as most other spirits categories. As golden (+18% MAT) and dark (+9% MAT) rum grow – and with golden sales now exceeding white in the On Trade – we can see drinkers engaging with the product in new ways, suggesting that there is definitely scope for new quality-driven brands to do for rum what Hendrick’s and Sipsmith did for gin.

Contact us to find out more about Market Insights and how it can help your business

21st December 2015

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