Spirits volumes declined by 5% in the UK last year amid excise duty changes, the cost-of-living crisis, and a trend towards moderation according to a new report from IWSR.

It was a double-digit decline for gin which declined in volume by 14% over the year, as the category lost shelf-space to more on-trend spirits including tequila.

In all, total beverage alcohol volumes declined by 2% and are expected to continue to see volume and value declines of 1% CAGR over the next five years.

Meanwhile, the no and low market continues to attract consumers – as a segment, it grew in volume by 47% between 2022 and 2023 and is forecasted to increase by 19% CAGR to 2028.

“Whether reflected by reining in grocery spend, reducing the frequency of on-trade visits or switching to longer drinks, seeking out better value was the overwhelming priority for increasingly cash-strapped UK drinkers in 2023,” said Patrick Fisher, IWSR senior market analyst.

“Rising prices and the cost-of-living crisis have reduced disposable incomes for discretionary spending and, coupled with the enduring trend of moderation as well as closures and reduced opening hours in the on-trade, this is having lasting effects on consumer behaviour. The upper end of the market remains more insulated, while mainstream-and-below retail sales became more dependent on promotions.”

The agave spirits category continued to show increases but growth is slowing. The segment increased 4% by volume in 2023, a decrease on the 13% CAGR enjoyed by the category between 2018 and 2023.