Worldwide vodka sales fell by 1.1% to 496.4m cases in 2013, according to a new just-drinks/The IWSR report, hit by continued declines in Eastern and Central Europe. However, the sector "continues to thrive" elsewhere, notably in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, where sales were up by 1.4m and 1.5m cases, respectively.
The market research report, 'Global vodka insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research', forecasts that the category will return to growth, with IWSR expecting vodka sales to peak at just over 500m cases in 2016, before undergoing a "slight downward correction".
The IWSR also forecasts "unrelenting" growth in the US, with the market predicted to reach 75m cases by 2018.
Sales in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have declined by 52.5m cases since 2004 to just under 308m cases, the report states, but sales in the Americas region over the same period have increased by 33.8m cases to 87.6m cases.
In retail value terms, the Americas saw sales rise in 2013 by 1% to US$15.2bn, although this represented a deceleration from previous rates of growth, the report says. The growth in retail value sales in North America more than offset declines in Central and South America, but pricing in the US has come under increasing pressure in the past few years, the report notes.
Meanwhile, the CIS saw a substantial 10.4% rise in retail value sales last year, but this was chiefly attributable to tax increases, particularly in Russia.
In Europe, retail value sales rose by 6% in 2013 to US$12.2bn on the back of increasing premiumisation across many markets. Travel Retail saw a 3.5% rise in value sales to $593.8m.