10+1 trends of Russian beer market 2015-2017Despite of the moderately negative prognoses for 2017, the beer market can be stabilized soon. Yet the years of the negative dynamics have resulted in marketing being limited just to “optimization” and the art of balancing between price and volumes. Bigger supermarkets share means stronger trade marketing. These processes are connected to the majority of the described trends. At the same time, the federal brands inflation leads to searching for new tastes, sales channels and contact formats that expand the product range and diversify the beer market, but do not imply a substantial volume increase. Let us enumerate and further discuss the ten trends of the beer market we can see in 2015-2017 as well as the major event of 2017.
Beer market of Ukraine 2017In the first half of 2017, the Ukrainian beer market goes on decreasing slowly. Yet, the companies manage to compensate their lost volumes by raising prices and improving the sales structures. This results in the mid price market segment reduction while the sales of premium brands are rising. These processes are connected to position strengthening of companies Carlsberg Group and Oasis and the market share reduction of Obolon. Most of the novelties by the market leaders belong to craft or hard lemon categories.
Beer market of Russia 2016: PET goes to draftThe beer market of Russia was warmed up by the hot summer, but the preparation for large volume PET prohibition has already impacted it negatively. The year was successful for Efes, MBC and regional producers; Carlsberg’s positions were virtually stable but AB InBev and Heineken lost a part of market share having focused on the sales profitability. The dynamics of big brands was determined by how much the companies were willing to keep the prices down or by their promotional activity. In this context the economy segment of the beer market and sales of inexpensive draft beer were increasing. The premium segment started shrinking due to license brands migrating to the mainstream segment.
Beer market of Vietnam: “Young tiger”Vietnam is one of the few big beer markets that continue to grow steadily. The beer popularity results from its low price, street consumption culture, and social motives. The outlooks of beer market as well as the Vietnamese economy inspire optimism, though the country is heavily dependent on export of goods. The state regulation can be called liberal, but the key risk for brewers is harbored in intensive rising of excise. Within TOP-4 there are two leaders, Sabeco and Heineken that grow at the fastest rates. The first company effectively employs its capacities, the second one focuses on marketing technologies. Almost 80% of the market belongs to century-old brands, yet the middle class and the youth are shifting their interest toward international premium that is growing taking share from the mainstream.
Chinese beer: under pressure as economy slows amid competition
Not all Chinese consumers agree. Sales of Yanjing, along with those of other domestic brewers, are under pressure as the economy slows and foreign brands make inroads.
Beer sales in China dropped 8 per cent by volume in the first half of 2015 from a year earlier, a fall that was blamed on the state of the economy but also unseasonable weather.
Sales are likely to return to moderate growth, but the industry trends of more consolidation and more attempts to shift upmarket to protect margins are likely to continue, according to FT Confidential Research, a research service from the Financial Times.
Yanjing faces a greater challenge than market leader Tsingtao. According to a recent FT Confidential Research survey of 1,000 beer drinkers across the country, Yanjing was the fifth most popular brand, cited by 15.9 per cent of respondents as one of the two beer brands that they most often purchase. It was well behind Tsingtao, which was cited by 57 per cent of respondents.
Yanjing isn’t helped by its limited geographic reach: it’s a Beijing stalwart, deriving 25 per cent of its sales from the capital, though the company is trying to expand its presence by targeting rural areas.
But Yanjing is also a popular beer with low income groups in a market of changing and increasingly sophisticated tastes. It lags behind rivals offering more mid-priced to premium beer to offset falling margins. Tsingtao’s peach beer comes in a shocking pink can aimed at a female audience, while Yanjing’s Party beer promises to “put you in a happy state of mind”.
The demand for better beer is certainly there: the FTCR survey found that 58 per cent of respondents usually pay more than Rmb6 ($0.95) for a 330ml bottle of suds, a level considered mid-range and above by brewers.
But even market leaders Tsingtao and CR Snow, whose mid-priced and premium beer sales account for 40 per cent and 45 per cent of total sales, face a challenge from the rapid growth of imported brands. Domestic beer volume sales may have fallen in the first half but those of imported beer rose 63 per cent, continuing the rapid growth of recent years as import costs tumble and China’s army of nightclubbers multiplies.
Imports account for just 1 per cent of total overall consumption but they are likely to continue growing at a rapid clip. Domestic beer sales growth may return to the low single digits should the forces blamed for this year’s falls prove temporary, but domestic brands will come under increasing pressure from these imports.
Industry woes are also likely to keep driving consolidation. Tsingtao is buying Suntory’s share in an eastern China joint venture to try to turn around sales there after they fell 15.2 per cent in the first half.
AB InBev’s purchase of SABMiller may prove the exception: SABMiller owns a 49 per cent stake in CR Snow and the tie-up would result in combined market share of around 40 per cent. That’s likely to be a six-pack too many for Beijing’s antitrust regulators.
14 Dec. 2015