New Delhi: Campari India Private Limited, which sells spirits like Aperol, Campari, Skyy Vodka, and Wild Turkey in India, is expecting a huge pick up in retail demand as it changes the strategy for the Indian market. The company said its entire products portfolio is likely to double in sales for FY2022-23 vis-a-vis the year prior. It hopes to become the fifth-largest international spirits player by 2025.
The covid-19 pandemic forced the company to change its strategy here since it first began in 2016 from being only a marketing business to becoming a distributor as well.
“It was only in 2020 that we changed our business model and went from being a marketing services company to a transacting company. We also expanded from just having Campari and Skky vodka in our India portfolio to adding about eight new brands. We are also going to increase our marketing investments here,” said Ashutosh Rajput, Campari India’s country head.
Despite the disruptions due to the pandemic, he added that its portfolio of premium spirits which was more skewed towards on-trade sales earlier, owing to higher consumption at bars and restaurants, has moved to home consumption or retail. Nearly 75% of its business now comes from home consumption.
Vikram Achanta, co-founder and CEO of Tulleeho, a drinks training and consulting firm, said American whiskies in India as a category have traditionally done well, largely fuelled by Jack Daniel’s (a Tennessee whiskey) and Jim Beam (a Bourbon).
“The pandemic has also seen an up-trading by consumers across most segments of the spirits market. Many consumers are buying better alcohol for home consumption. Consumers are now more amenable to indulging themselves by buying higher quality and priced pours,” he said.
According to Campari Group, the company’s Italian parent, about 7.4% of its business overall came from the Asia Pacific market in 2020 and 43.7% — its largest — came from the US.
Globally, the company said about 19% of its entire sales came from Italian bitters aperitif Aperol and about 10% from Campari. Just 8% of its entire business came from Wild Turkey whisky in 2020.
But in India, the story is different. Its Old Smuggler blended scotch whiskey, for instance, is growing rapidly now. It has reached volumes of about one lakh standard cases a year since 2020 and has grown 40% year-on-year.
“In India, of the entire spirits market, 60% is made up of whisky. Within that, about 2% is the imported whisky segment. While that is a very small base, it has great headroom to grow. We too are seeing a great demand for premium products,” he added.
The company has recently introduced Wild Turkey whiskey into the market, its bourbon offering. Bourbon, Rajput added, is likely to grow well in India as well.
Achanta of Tulleho added that there is an appetite for premium bourbons like Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark now, as well as for more brands in categories like Rye whiskey, where there is considerable consumer and bartender interest.
According to research firm Statista, the projected revenue in the whisky segment amounts to $16,557 million in 2021 and that the market is expected to grow annually by 7.18% CAGR between 2021-2025. The average volume per person in the whisky segment is expected to amount to 2.42 litres in 2021 in India.
Campari India is one of the last ones to enter the market but would like to be the fifth-largest company in the world in terms of spirits, said Rajput.
“We also see great opportunities with tequilas and Proseccos in India. Premium rums are also seeing a sort of a global resurgence,” he added.
According to IWSR, a data analyst on the beverage alcohol market, global whiskey volumes are set to witness a rebound in 2021, after a 10.7% decline in 2020, helped by recovery in large markets such as India and the US.
But research firm Euromonitor International said luxury spirits accounted for sales worth ₹11,670.7 million in 2019 but was expected to shrink in 2021 to about ₹8542.2 million owing primarily to the covid-19 pandemic.