Smaller-sized bottles can help ‘democratize’ spirits – Mintel


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Bacardi vodka brand Grey Goose has innovated with 375ml bottles
Bacardi vodka brand Grey Goose has innovated with 375ml bottles

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More favorable consumer attitudes are leading European spirits brands to invest in smaller-sized bottles, says Mintel analyst Jonny Forsyth, a move he claims is helping ‘democratize’ gift buying in the segment.

In a post on the research outfit’s blog, Forsyth notes the big potential that such ‘fractional bottles’ (250ml, 350ml and 500ml) hold when set aside the default 750ml bottle.

Mintel data showed that almost two in five (39% of) alcohol drinkers aged 18-24 in the UK would like to have more choice in terms of smaller spirits bottles, Forsyth says, a wish he says is being fulfilled as brands invest.

Winning shelf space in the UK

Taking the same demographic in other major European countries, the analyst says the figures are as follows: Italy 54%, France 40%, Germany 34% and Spain 31%.

“In the UK, supermarkets are increasingly granting space to 50cl, 35cl and 20cl spirit bottles,” ​Forsyth writes, with promising initial sales results.

“Indeed, smaller bottles encourage impulse purchases, the trial of new types of drinks or brands, and also trading up,”​ he adds.

But why is this happening? Forsyth cites the growth in footfall at impulse stores in the UK where ‘top up shopping’ becomes a trend, rather than one big shop.

Impulse stores underpin potential

Shoppers tend to visit such stores on foot, so larger bottles are more difficult to carry home, the analyst notes, before citing the separate attraction that smaller spirits bottles present to the gift buyer.

“In all but Germany, the majority of European spirit drinkers – 71% of Italian, 70% of Polish, 66% of French, 54% of Spanish, 49% of German – think that spirit bottles make a good gift, with ultra-premium brands doing especially well over festive periods,”​ Forsyth writes.

“However, buying 75cl+ bottles of luxury brands is prohibitive to many, and to all but special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas,”​ he adds.

Consequently, Forsyth concludes, smaller sizes can help ‘democratize’ this gift buying market.

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