India topples France as UK’s biggest Scotch market by volume

LONDON: India has overtaken France to become the UK’s largest market of Scotch whisky in terms of volume with a 60% hike in imports in 2022 over the previous year, according to figures from Scotland’s leading industry body.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said that India imported 219 million 70cl bottles of Scotch compared to France’s 205 million last year representing growth of the Indian Scotch market of more than 200% in the past decade.
In terms of value, the US continued to hold on to its topmost position as the largest market at 1.1 billion pounds. The total export value of Scotch whisky – one of the UK’s biggest exporters – was up 37% by value to 6.2 billion pounds.
As one of the key sectors of focus for the UK in the free trade agreement (FTA) talks with India, now in their seventh round of negotiations, SWA pointed out that the hike in volume still makes up only a fraction of the Indian whisky market due to high tariffs.
“Despite double-digit growth, Scotch whisky still just comprises 2% of the Indian whisky market,” the association said on Friday. “SWA analysis shows that a UK-India FTA deal which eases the 150% tariff burden on Scotch whisky in India could boost market access for Scotland’s whisky companies, allowing for an additional 1-billion pound of growth over five years,” it noted.
The value of the Indian market for Scotch exports comes in at fifth worth 282 million pounds, up 93% in 2021 and behind France, Singapore and Taiwan. The 2022 trend also saw the Asia-Pacific region overtake the EU as the industry’s largest regional market, with double-digit post-pandemic growth also seen in Taiwan, Singapore and China besides India. “In a year of economic headwinds and supply chain disruption, the industry continued to be an anchor of growth,” said SWA chief Mark Kent.

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