SALES: £473.2m GROWTH: +9.1%
Britain’s biggest vodka has had the year’s biggest growth, worth a whopping £39.5m to owner Diageo. What’s more, the growth is chiefly down to Diageo’s success in convincing punters that Smirnoff is worth paying more for than your average voddy; volumes are up a meagre 2%.
The brand’s core offering, re- branded as Smirnoff 21 earlier this year as part of a portfolio-wide packaging overhaul, is to thank for most of the growth. Value and volume are up in double digits; impressive stuff for a product that’s worth £415.5m on its own.
“This has been driven in part by the launch of the newly designed bottle and the current We’re Open campaign,” says Diageo off-trade sales director Guy Dodwell.
With the We’re Open activity, Smirnoff is partnering with a host of music festivals and cultural events throughout the year, including V Festival, London Pride and Creamfields.
Not all Smirnoff offerings have been such a smash hit with the hip young festival crowd. The brand’s flavoured vodkas have suffered a combined loss of £4.1m (16.1%) in the past year, with cinnamon-flavoured variant Gold, launched in 2013 for those who like to knock their vodka back in shots, suffering an 11% decline on volumes down 10.2%. The variant’s hefty average price of £26.18/litre may be to blame.
There can be no disputing the success of other Smirnoff variants, however. The brand’s RTDs are in strong growth, for example. “This is really being driven by pre-mix cans, which include Moscow Mule and Cosmopolitan,” says Dodwell.
As for one of the original alcopops, Smirnoff Ice value is down 11.1% on volumes down 14.5%, but Dodwell claims the launch of can and sorbet formats will help bring Ice back into growth. There’s evidence to suggest he might be right; Smirnoff Sorbet, launched in 2013, has racked up a cool £6.5m in the past year.