Most of the leading spirits brands increased sales in travel retail in 2016 as the market began to recover following 2015’s downturn, according to IWSR’s Top 100 Travel Retail Brands. Overall global travel retail spirits sales increased by 3.2% in 2016 over 2015 to reach 22.5m nine-liter cases.
Johnnie Walker still leads the ranking with an 11.4% share of global travel retail spirits volumes. Sales of the biggest selling variant, Johnnie Walker Red Label, continued to decline last year, but there was growth for the Black Label, Gold Reserve, Platinum and XR lines, as well as the relaunched Green Label malt. Johnnie Walker saw the largest volume gain of all the 27 scotch brands featured on the list. Scotch is the most-represented category on the list with 27 brands. Vodka is second with 17 brands featured.
Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Regal reclaimed second place in the top 100 from Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s. Jack Daniel’s sales grew by 11.5% in Europe last year, but declined in all other regions, particularly the Americas, despite the success of the new Tennessee Fire line, which was launched in travel retail in 2015. The three other U.S. whiskies on the list, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark all posted double digit growth. Chivas Regal was one of Pernod Ricard’s best-performing top 100 brands, along with Martell, Jameson, Havana Club and Kahlúa.
LVMH’s Hennessy Cognac climbed two places in the ranking with a 13.2% growth in 2016 over 2015. Hennessy moved from 8th to 6th place after developing most rapidly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, its key regional markets. Hennessy, travel retail’s best-selling Cognac, has also been one of the most consistent growth brands in the spirits sector over the past few years. Pernod Ricard’s Martell Cognac entered the top ten following a 5.6% growth in travel retail sales in 2016. Martell’s travel retail volumes grew by 12.6% a year on average in the five years to 2016. Hennessy and Martell were the only Cognacs on the list to report growth in 2016.
While sales of Absolut and Smirnoff, both in the top ten, declined last year, the vodka category boasts a number of top-performing brands. Nemiroff, Danzka, Żubrówka, Żołądkowa Gorzka, Beluga and Soplica all posted double-digit growth. Tito’s entered the ranking for the first time as sales grew from 5,000 to 33,000 cases, while Nemiroff rose from 25 to 14 in the top brands ranking.