This month’s Market Review looks at beer; some 160 billion litres of which were drunk* in 2012; that’s some 5,000 litres every second.


Source: Mintel Global Market Sizes

The supply mix

Given the size of the market, it’s not surprising that there are so many types of beer on the market, provided by transnational giants co-existing with thousands of small local brewers across the globe.

A global move towards home consumption

As always each market has its own peculiarities, but there has been a general trend of development whereby beers are introduced in the on trade and then extended into packaged formats designed for the off trade. Consumers get the taste when drinking out and then want to replicate it in the comfort of their home.

Market maturity a clue

If this trend were strictly true, we would expect to see the retail volume share rising for all countries and highest in the most mature markets. Certainly the global trend is for retail sales to be gaining on the on trade: in 25 out of the 34 countries on Mintel’s database, the retail share is higher than 4-5 years ago. Correlation analysis reveals that there seems to be a link, albeit somewhat weak, between retail share and market maturity (measured by consumption per capita.) Certainly the Canadians, Finns and Poles feature near the top of the per capita consumption and off trade shares’ leagues.

However, Austrians are the most avid beer drinkers and the off trade is only around the global average. India provides a more notable exception to the rule: it has the second lowest per capita consumption of the review countries, but virtually all sales are through the off trade.

Retail prices, per se, not so influentialNevertheless, market maturity seems to be more of a guide than retail prices. China has the lowest retail price paid per litre but, while the off trade sales are relatively lower than the global average, they still account for six out every ten litres sold in the country; quite a way from the lowest ranking. By contrast, Norway, where prices are almost seven times more expensive, is as high as number 11 in the retail shares rankings. A more decisive factor may be relative price between the off and on trade; as those drinking out in Norway will testify.
*In the 34 countries covered by Mintel