Diageo (NYSE:DEO) is the largest alcoholic beverage producer and marketer in the world. Diageo sells a collection of premium alcohol brands in the spirits, wine and beer categories. Some well known brands in the Diageo portfolio include Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, JeB, José Cuervo, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray, and Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.
Diageo does the majority of its business in the developed Western world. North America and Europe have always been Diageo's largest market, but they are relatively stagnant and saturated markets. Western Europeans and Americans are consuming less alcohol than they have traditionally, evidenced by a 27% decrease in consumption in the United States from 1980 to 2000.
As a result, Diageo is now looking at Asia, Africa, and Latin America for growth. They are smaller markets but they are growing at a much faster pace than the west. In many developing countries such as China and [[[investing in india|India]], the middle and upper class is growing, which translates to more customers for Diageo. In addition, Diageo is spending lots of advertising money in these countries promoting their premium brands.
In 2009, DEO earned a total of $15.3 billion in total revenues. This was a decline from its 2008 total revenues of $16.1 billion. As a result, DEO's net income was adversely impacted. Between 2008 and 2009, DEO's net income declined from $3.2 billion in 2008 to $2.8 billion in 2009.
Diageo operates in four geographic regions:
North America is Diageo's largest sector. Despite the weakening US economy, Diageo put the pedal to the metal in advertising, increasing spending in that area. This clearly worked, creating far more brand awareness than in previous periods. Diageo is also trying to expand its line-up of liquor offerings, after deciding not to go after Absolut Vodka, the company purchased a 50% stake in Ketel Vodka.
Europe is Diageo's second largest sector.
Asia Pacific is Diageo's smallest sector.
The International sector contains all the other countries that Diageo operates in, including those in Africa and Latin America.
Western European and North Americans are consuming less alcohol than they have previously. In America, consumption has been slowing for decades, from 2.76 gallons in 1980, to 2.43 gallons in 1990, and finally 2.18 gallons in 2000. From 1970-2000 consumption in Italy dropped 44%, France dropped 34%, and Spain by 15%. From 1990 to 1998 alcohol consumption declined 6% in Western Europe, 10% in North America and 12.5% in Australasia. Obviously these declines in consumption negatively impact DEO's revenues, as lower total demand means it can charge less, and also sell less units of alcohol.
The main focus of Diageo's business is on the spirits sector of the market. However, this market has started to decline, and growth in the alcohol business has come from wine and beer. Also, flavored alcohol, vodka in particular, and ready-to-drink beverage's like Diageo's Smirnoff Ice also present growth opportunities. Diageo recognizes this trend, and has made a concerted effort to diversify out of simple, traditional spirits. In addition, while the Western world still presents a great value, growth looks to come from the developing world and emerging markets
The United States is Diageo's largest market. The majority of alcohol drinkers in America are part of the [[Aging Baby Boomers | baby boomer]generation. This generation is reaching their peak alcohol drinking age, and have plenty of disposable income. It is believed that the baby boomer trend will continue until around 2015, and will continue to generate profits for the alcohol industry. However, this good news is tempered by some less encouraging data concerning the youngest generation of Americans. The next generation of alcohol drinkers appears to hold off on alcohol more than their parents. The number of teenagers who said they had had a drink was 78% lower in 1999 than in 1982 (when consumption levels were at their peak), and the number of college freshmen who say they drink occasionally or often is at record low levels.
The vast majority of brands in the Diageo portfolio are considered "premium" brands, and they generally cost more than a typical bottle of alcohol. These more expensive bottles generally carry higher margins than their discount competitors, and have been a great business for Diageo. However, if the economy were to weaken significantly, and disposable incomes dropped, Diageo could be put under some pressure. A normal consumer on a tight budget, will probably substitute a cheaper bottle of alcohol for the more expensive, brand name Diageo product.
The largest players in the alcohol business are mainly conglomerates that produce and compete in all areas of the business (wine, spirits, and beer). In the wine business, Diageo competes with many small wine producers like Willamette Valley Vineyards, as well as larger players like LVMH Moet Hennessy and Constellation Brands. In the beer business, Diageo competes with Anheuser-Busch Companies, Molson Coors Brewing Company, and SABMiller, and, in America, Constellation Brands as well. Finally, a few competitors in the spirits sector include Constellation again, LVMH Moet Hennessy L.V., Brown-Forman (BF) and Fortune Brands.