India has surpassed France to become the United Kingdom’s largest Scotch whisky market in terms of volume, with a 60% hike in imports in 2022 over the previous year, says the latest figures released by industry body Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The data revealed that India imported 219 million bottles of Scotch compared to France’s 205 million last year, growing more than 200% in the past decade. However, despite the double-digit volume growth, Scotch whisky only comprises 2% of the Indian whisky market. SWA pointed out that the hike in volume still makes up only a fraction of the Indian whisky market due to high tariffs. It is one of the key sectors of focus for the UK in the free trade agreement (FTA) talks with India, which is now in their seventh round of negotiations.
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 GBP 1 billion of growth over the next five years, it noted.
The value of the Indian market for Scotch exports comes in at fifth worth GBP 282 million, up 93% in 2021 and behind France, Singapore and Taiwan. In 2022, the Asia-Pacific region overtook the European Union (EU) as the industry’s largest regional market, with double-digit post-pandemic growth also witnessed in Taiwan, Singapore, China and India.