Whisky auction market declines in volume and value

The latest Noble & Co Whisky Intelligence Report has revealed “a period of substantial difficulty for the Scotch whisky auction market” with volumes and value “significantly” down.

The report’s analysis of the fine and rare whisky auction market in the first four months of 2024 said this period has been “notably challenging for the secondary market, reflecting broader economic pressures.”

Auction volumes were significantly down by 30% from January to April 2024 compared to the previous year.

The total value transacted of bottles selling for over £100 fell 36% during the same period.

The percentage of bottles unsold at auction increased to 6.9% in Q1 2024 from 6.7% in Q4 2023.

Average prices for bottles were down 12% in January, 14% in February, saw a 21% increase in March, but dropped again by 23% in April.

Overall, for the period January to April, the average price per bottle fell by 8% versus the same period a year ago

The £100 to £1,000 price bracket accounted for 90.4% of volumes traded, with significant declines observed in higher price brackets, particularly the £1,000 to £10,000 range.

By value transacted, the £100 to £1,000 price bracket increased to 45% of total value from 41% a year ago.

Glenfiddich showed the fastest growth in auction sales value (97%) among larger distilleries, while J. & G. Grant – Glenfarclas had the highest growth in auction sales volume (59%).

“Our report underscores a period of substantial difficulty for the Scotch whisky auction market, driven by ongoing economic challenges,” said Noble & Co.

“Despite some positive signs in March, the overall trend shows a marked decline in both volume and value, indicating a hesitant market with cautious collectors and reduced demand.

“As inflation stabilises and interest rates potentially fall, there is hope for market recovery, but current data does not yet reflect this optimism.”