118 million liters, it is the volume of alcohol consumed in Morocco in 2011, according to the IWSR (International Wine & Spirit Research).
Beer holds the first place with 68.3% (80.7 million liters) of total consumption, followed by wine accounting for 27.2% (32.1 million liters), and spirits for 4.5% with a volume of almost 5.3 million liters.
Despite the global economic downturn which impacted both local consumption and tourists’ spending, the sharp tax increases in 2010, and the introduction of compulsory security markings (SPICA), the Moroccan Alcohol market grew by 0.5% compared to 2010, where nearly 117.5 million liters were consumed.
These numbers do not include the growing contraband / parallel trade, in particular in Spirits where domestic production is largely limited to aniseed-flavoured spirits and Mahia.
If the growth prospects of the Moroccan alcohol market do not seem to be much questioned by the changing tax and economic landscape, the new context has impacted on consumption patterns and consumer preferences. If Moroccans do not consume less alcohol, they tend by cons to drink differently.
Switching from beer to wine?
The new context benefits domestic wines with an increase of 7.7% in the 2010-2011 period, while imports (mainly France, Spain, Italy, & Tunisia) registered an 11.8% decline over the same period. On domestic wines shelves, Celliers de Meknès’ Moghrabi holds the first place (67% volume market share) followed by Guerrouane and Cuvées Président.
- French wine: -4.4% (with Champagne decreasing by 6.8%)
- Italian wine: -25%
- Spanish Wine: -23.5%
- Tunisian Wine: -72.7%
Chilean and Portuguese wines are though gaining in popularity and Domestic Consumption taxes (DCT) increase did not slow down their surge.
For the beer segment, with a higher DCT increase than for wine, and the marking system costing 20 cents of a dirham per bottle to breweries, consumption shrank by 1.9%. Tax increases and compulsory security marking being reported on prices, many consumers traded down to lower-priced brands. At the same time, beer imports increased due to another part of consumers trading up to premium lager as domestic brands lose their price advantage.
Top 3 most consumed beers remain Flag (mainly Spéciale) with 48 million liters, Stork (20 million liters) and Heineken (9 million liters). For imported beers, aficionados remain loyal to Budweiser, Corona and San Miguel.
In the Spirits segment, Whiskey holds the first place (47%), followed by Vodka (31%), aperitifs and digestives (12%) and gin (5.7%). Vodka remains popular among the younger ones, Whiskey, and Scotch rebound while Ballantine is losing some volume.
In IWSR’s 2012 forecasts, beer consumption is expected to suffer another decrease (-1.5), wine will continue growing (+4.7%) and Spirits will decline (-2%).
Houda EL MERNISSI, Analyst, Infomineo.