Johnnie Walker Retains Top Travel Retail Spot

Johnnie WalkerAccording to figures released by the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR), the blended whisky brand saw a volume sales decline of 4.5% last year, dropping from 2.3 million nine-litre cases, to 2.2m due to “massive declines” in key Asia Pacific markets.

Its nearest rival, Pernod Ricard-owned Absolut vodka also declined in the travel retail market, dropping 10.4% from just over a million case sales to 897,500 in 2013, with the biggest loss coming from the Americas.

Earlier this year, Diageo was almost forced to pull bottles of its Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection – the group’s biggest investment in travel retail to-date – after losing a trademark battle againt a real-life Explorers Clubin New York.

However, the two group’s reached a settlement just last month resulting in a global sponsorship and licensing agreement.

In the IWSR’s table of top 10 travel retail brands, Jack Daniel’s saw the most substantial growth, building case sales by 20% and overtaking Chivas Regal as the third best-selling travel retail brand.

The second fastest-growing brand in the top 10 is Finlandia, which grew 14% in 2013 to tip the 400,000-case mark. The vodka brand, owned by Brown-Forman, entered the top 10 this year, pushing out Courvoisier which declined -7.3%.

Total volumes of spirits in the travel retail market increased 1.4% globally in 2013, to reach 21.6m nine-litre cases, with the top 100 brands accounting for 85% of these.

However, the IWSR also recently reported that trends across the global duty free market have reverse as Asia Pacific reports the sector’s first volume declines in five years, dropping 4.4%.

The Americas and Europe meanwhile continued their upward trend, reporting “healthy growth”.