The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has published figures which show that exports of Scotch in the first half of the 2014 year were £1.77 billion (NZ$3.6 billion), down 11% from £1.99 billion (NZ$4.05 billion) in the same period of 2013. Following a decade of fast growth, the demand for Scotch is levelling off in some markets.
As an industry association, the SWA was quick to point to growth in markets such as France, United Arab Emirates, Australia, India, Taiwan, Canada and Japan. However, there must be concern at the decline in big Asian and American markets, particularly China, Singapore, the United States, Brazil and Mexico. The association put this down to “a mixture of reasons: the well-documented anti-extravagance measures in China, economic slowdown in some markets, a stronger pound sterling and de-stocking.”
They remain upbeat saying “in all these markets the whisky category remains popular and the long-term prospects are good.” David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said “we are confident that Scotch Whisky will continue to grow in the long-term as markets stabilise and new ones, such as emerging economies across Africa, open up. However, it is clear that in the short-run that there are economic headwinds affecting exports.”
Frost linked the issues to the recent Scottish independence referendum saying “we need support from government to beat down trade barriers and help us access new markets overseas. That is why we are determined to play a full part in the forthcoming debate about further devolution, so that it enables a supportive business environment to ensure the future success of Scotch Whisky.”