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LIQUOR RETAILING

The rapid progression of the liquor retail channel in Africa

By our News Team | 2022

Off-trade liquor retail strategies are evolving in size and sophistication, in part due to changes in habits driven by the pandemic.

Private wealth in Africa is expected to rise by 38% over the next 10 years, according to the latest 2022 Africa Wealth Report

This expected growth, combined with continued expansion of the African middle class, is positively impacting the formal retail channel, including liquor retail, in many countries on the continent. The demand – and increased sophistication – is fuelled by urbanisation, wealth creation and higher levels of consumer expectation.

Liquor Retailing

A modern liquor retail outlet in Accra, Ghana. Photo credit: Supplied

Looking specifically at the modern liquor retail sector in Africa, investment in sophisticated stand-alone liquor retail outlets was historically largely limited to duty-free shops in international airports. 

But more recently there has been a notable change in modern liquor retail. Potentially significant growth is coming from grocery stores that have dedicated liquor outlets located within them. 

Many liquor outlets are within well-established supermarkets

Indeed, in many African countries liquor sales are permitted inside supermarkets, so independent liquor stores have not been deemed necessary. The more supermarkets groups grow their client base, the more liquor brands will expand theirs within this environment.

In general, we now see major liquor suppliers spending much more aggressively in off-trade retail (supermarkets, off-licences, shops). This shift in spend is likely driven by the pandemic and the resultant limitations on access to bars, clubs, beer halls and informal drinking houses as a way for brands to reach their customers.

According to Leonard Gebhardt of Red Fox Create, which specialises in the production of custom brand-displays across the African continent, this change has highlighted the importance of capitalising on sales and marketing opportunities at off-trade retail level for liquor brands, so the fight is on!

Already, there exist many beautifully designed high-end liquor stores in our continent’s cities which would put many global stores to shame. At the other end of spectrum there are tiny outlets stocking multiple brands which require real innovation for brands to stand out, be noticed and build lasting brand equity.

To read more about the evolution of modern liquor retailing in Africa, go to page 28 of the latest issue (Issue 2 2022) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. You can access the Digital Edition here.

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