The cider/perry market has witnessed phenomenal developments in the last ten years, making it the World's fastest-growing alcoholic drinks category, in volume terms. In a recent report, entitled Cider/Perry: Outlook and Opportunities, Euromonitor International presents some of the dynamics that currently support this rate of growth, and will continue to do so in the next five years.

Some of the defining features of the category have been like the internationalisation of cider/perry brands that have driven expansion beyond the UK and other traditional cider markets. In recent years, the sector has opened up to a broader consumer spectrum, from value-seeking to quality-pursuing drinkers. Also, demand for ‘craft’ in beer has spilled over onto the cider/perry category expanding the premium offerings.

Cider/perry makers are also taking to the approach of product sophistication by positioning their wares as a suitable alternative to wine, as observed in the US. More so, the category is witnessing the next stage of its evolution as it shifts toward niche areas covering white spaces such as ‘light cider’ and spirit-cider, otherwise promoted as ‘spider’.

A bright future for this small market

Cider/perry is expected to be the fastest-growing category in volume terms when compared to beer and wine subcategories, with a forecast CAGR of 9% over the next five years. The US market is key to growth in global sales following the double-digit growth rates it witnessed over the 2009 to 2014 period, and is expected to continue to do so going forward. Also, Cider/perry consumption in the US will grow to similar levels to those currently seen in the UK.

The category’s relatively small and low-base global size is significant to its dynamic growth rate, and it has much to expand on, as vast amounts of consumers have almost no knowledge of - or access to - cider or perry. There is much product awareness to be built upon and much geographic expansion by cider/perry makers in Asia Pacific, where the category is almost non-existent, and Eastern Europe, where product awareness is on the rise already.

Where can small cider/perry makers develop?

Smaller cider/perry makers have much to gain from a global expansion in volume sales. Global players such as Heineken, Carlsberg, and Anheuser-Busch InBev will compete for the top spot in cider/perry sales in the most dynamic markets. Smaller cider/perry makers, then, can develop their brand awareness on the back of the promotional work built by the larger players and expand into one of the world’s fastest-growing cider/perry markets, the US.

By taking the craft beer approach of promoting the story and heritage of their brands, small cider/perry makers will be able to access a consumer pool that typically favours premium brands.

The main challenge in the markets of Asia Pacific, meanwhile, will be to raise product awareness and differentiate the beverage from sparkling wine.