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The Whisky Market In 2024 As Export Values Exceeds £2 Billion

So far in 2024 the collectible and secondary market is showing interesting trends. Multiple reports and indexes show a secondary market that can benefit the patient buyer.

What can you expect from the secondary scotch whisky market in 2024? The Scotch Whisky Association’s global export figures for 2023 apparently reflect a “more normalized” year for the primary scotch market. Despite globally tumultuous markets, export levels are still showing growth compared to pre-pandemic levels. In contrast to a slow year for blended whisky, in 2023 the export value of single malt scotch saw 2% growth and exceeded £2bn for the first time.

In the collectible and secondary market 2024 is showing different trends. Multiple reports and indexes show a secondary market that can benefit the patient buyer, while short term investors may suffer. The duality of the whisky market emphasizes the need for a balanced whisky portfolio that can benefit from the distinctive nature of bottles versus casks as an investment. 

The International Market for Scotch Whisky

Annually scotch whisky now contributes £7.1bn to the UK economy with exports worth £5.6bn. Blended scotch exceeds single malt in terms of both value (54.8% vs 36.1%) and volume (57.6% vs. 11.5%), but not growth. In 2023 blended scotch exports fell 16% compared to 2022. By contrast, single malt scotch grew 2% and 2023 became the first year that single malt scotch exports exceeded £2bn.

The SWA clarified that 2022’s growth was based on a rebound following the pandemic; the effects of restocking export markets and a fully open travel retail all created record growth in 2022. The SWA suggests comparing 2023 against pre-pandemic levels to give a more realistic picture of the long term growth in the global industry.

The USA was the largest single market for scotch in terms of value (£978m), but Asia Pacific was the most valuable region, with exports worth £1.8bn.

“Premiumisation of Scotch Whisky remains a driver in these key markets: single malt Scotch Whisky continued to rise in popularity among a growing cohort of consumers, with double digit growth in China and Singapore on 2022,” explained the SWA in their analysis of global export figures released in February 2024.

Scotch Whisky Associate International Trade figures for 2023. Credit: Scotch Whisky Association (https://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/insights/international-trade/)

The Secondary Market

Collectible whisky on the secondary market is seeing a different trend. Despite a new world record for a single bottle of whisky set in November 2023, both Knight Frank and Nobel and Co have both reported a decline in the areas tracked by their respective data sets. Our own data also shows similar trends.

Of course, collectible whisky is hardly alone in these trends. The patterns of low or negative growth in 2023 are ones which are mirrored across all high-value and luxury collectibles and reflect the global economic pressures of the time.

Where to Invest in 2024?

Whisky is an investment that is inherently suited to the patient investor. Nothing in whisky is quick, and this ethos should be carried through to any investment, whether in casks or bottles.

Patient investing in assets that are inherently undervalued on the market continues to be our keystone for sustaining long term growth trends. Whether you are looking at casks or bottles, curating expertise and a deep understanding of the market can allow you to take advantage of current trends.

The elegance of whisky investment is the solutions offered by casks and bottles can be used to create a balanced portfolio that reacts to the strengths of the market. For the investor willing to invest time, whisky is a unique long term investment.

The whisky market is like any other, values can go down as well as up, please don’t invest anything that you can’t afford to lose in a worst case scenario.

Hannah Thompson

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