Ghana’s wine imports dipped from $26.6 million in 2013, to $15.7 million in 2018, during several years of currency weakness and economic malaise. Post expects sales to stabilize and ultimately increase as incomes continue to rise and some consumers shift away from other alcoholic beverages. Positive developments in Ghana’s hospitality and retail sectors also account for increasing sales potential at the high end of the market.
In Ghana, the consumption of wines, spirits, and beer traditionally occur at social functions (funerals, weddings, baby naming ceremonies, etc). However, the urban consumer, as well as more numerous business and tourist travelers, largely drive consumption growth. Ghanaian society has a tremendously young population, with nearly 60% 25 or under. Consumption is most prevalent among Ghanaians in the 25-49 age bracket.
In middle to low cost segments of the market, demand for wine, spirits and beer among most consumers is dependent on product prices, taste, and higher alcoholic contents and not necessarily driven by product quality. The consumption of alcoholic beverages (vol.) in Ghana is dispersed as follows: beer 30%; wine 10%; spirits 3%; other (locally brewed) 57%.
Growing Taste for High-end Wine
Despite recent volatility, Ghana’s wine market continues to show growth potential due to the growing upper and middle class, expatriate community, and influx of business and tourist travelers. These segments of the economy show much higher consumption than the average Ghanaian consumer. Additionally, wine is generally perceived to be a healthier alcoholic beverage, so consumers are gradually shifting from the consumption of beer to wine.
There is growing taste for high-end wine and spirits among urban upper and middle class consumers. Local distributors assert that consumers across the spectrum prefer dry red wines, but in recent times sweet wines have grown in popularity. Sparkling wine also remains a popular choice among high-end consumers as a sign of status or success, and local distributors aggressively market major internationally recognizable brands such as Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot in West African urban centers.
The bulk of wine in Ghana sells through supermarkets, specialty stores, convenience stores, open market and HRI (hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants) and patronized by the middle class and high-income consumers.
The leading supplier of wine to Ghana is the European Union (EU), primarily France, Italy, and Spain.
The leading supplier of wine to Ghana is the European Union (EU), primarily France, Italy, and Spain. South America (Chile, Argentina) and South Africa are also major suppliers because they offer a steady combination of quality and competitive price point. The EU holds 50% market share of Ghana’s wine imports, followed by South Africa (30%), South America (10%) and the USA (5%). There is also a small market for Lebanese, Moroccan, and Turkish wines. Australian and New Zealand wines are also sporadically available on the market, but typically transshipped via the United Kingdom.
Sales of wine and spirits through supermarkets, convenience stores and side shops account for about 65% of the total.
Specialized retail sales outlets of imported wine and spirits are increasing with sales accounting for about 15%. Some of these specialty stores stock mostly selections of the more expensive premium brands and others sell brands from specific origins.
Wine consumption at hotels, bars and other food service outlets (HRI) is small at less than 10% of the total, but offers high potential as the sector grows rapidly.
Some wine and spirits are sold to consumers and retailers through wholesalers located in the traditional open wet markets. Sales through these traditional markets account for about 10%.
European & Lebanese as Premium Beers
Locally produced beverages such as akpeteshie (distilled sugar or palm spirit) and palm wine are widely sold in the informal markets, and they remain the staple alcoholic beverage for many Ghanaians. Their low prices make them highly accessible, but a lack of oversight and regulation means quality and safety can vary widely..
The beer market in Ghana, worth an estimated $450 million in 2017, accounts for about 75% of the total alcohol market value. Multi-national companies, such as Guinness and South African Breweries (SAB), brew multiple international brands onsite in Ghana. The two national brands brewed in Ghana, Star and Club, are managed and distributed by Guinness and SAB, respectively. Imported European and Lebanese beers are commonly available at most urban supermarkets, but sell at a premium due to high customs duties. According to available trade data, beer exports to Ghana totaled only $7.1 million in 2018.
In terms of high-end consumers, champagne and cognac dominate the market.
In terms of imported spirits ($28.4 million in 2018), Ghana is primarily a market for European whiskies, cognacs, and gins. Discount whiskies from India also captured a major share of the market in recent years. Much like sparkling wines, local distributors heavily promote high-end cognacs in elite establishments. In terms of high-end consumers, champagne and cognac dominate the market, and the brand appears to be as important as the actual substance of the product.