Affluent Asian women help lift liquor market to $160bn high

on 20/07/11 at 12:13 pm

Industry

A racy Bollywood has helped drive a surge in consumption of alcohol by Indian women (Priyanka Chapor file picture). Source: AP

“IF men can go to the pub, why can’t we?” asks Shalini Chopra, a call-centre worker in Gurgaon, a new town near Delhi, where women flock to bars and nightclubs at weekends in almost equal numbers to men.

“I believe in enjoying my life to the full, and that’s what I am doing. I enjoy drinking and will continue to do so as long as I enjoy doing it,” she says.

Growing demand from women is helping to drive the region’s thirst for luxury scotch whisky, vodka and gin, producers say, as Asian women become more financially independent and social attitudes towards consumption of alcohol change.

Asians are expected to spend about £106 billion ($160bn) on alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine and spirits by 2015, from £78bn this year.

With 50 million new consumers in the region reaching the legal drinking age every year, some of the growth is being driven by an increase in population, but changing social attitudes and rising income levels among women are a significant factor, says Mark Barnard, the commercial director in the region for Diageo, the owner of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff.

“Social taboos around female drinking are changing and Asian ladies are going out more and more,” he says.

{FULL STORY via The Australian}

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