Alcoholic drinks in Russia are deemed "advantaged"

Alcoholic drinks in Russia are deemed "advantaged"

A note from Bernstein this week has highlighted an increasingly pessimistic mood among Russian consumers.

The company surveyed 800 consumers on the economic situation in their country, covering a range of packaged goods, including beverages. It is part of Bernstein's wider consumer survey in the BRIC countries, and shows that Russia is the most downbeat of the four.

There is good news, though: Despite half of the respondents believing that the Russian economy is getting worse (compared to 17% in China and 41% in Brazil), Bernstein concludes that alcoholic drinks is one of the few “advantaged” categories in the country.

That chimes with recent analysts' suggestions that Carlsberg, the country's beer market leader, may be finally nearing the end of its problems there. According to Nomura last month, changes to regulations governing the sale of alcohol in Russia have been completed and the outlook for the market is correspondingly stable. This year is likely to be the “inflection point for volumes”, Nomura said.

Meanwhile, in a seminar in London last month, SABMiller said it was more optimistic on Russia through its partnership with Anadolu Efes.

Overall, however, sentiment in Bernstein's consumer survey was disappointingly drab. Only 22% of respondents felt that Russia's economy was improving, compared to 49% and 36% for China and Brazil, respectively. This was down on last year, when a similar survey found 30% thought the market was getting better. 

It seems that, in economic matters at least, the outlook for Russia remains uncertain.