Global drinks companies Diageo and SABMiller reported a fall in sales for the first three months of 2013 in major emerging markets today.
The two companies blamed weaker economic conditions for dampening spending and pushing consumers to trade down.
Their weak trading adds to evidence that markets such as Brazil and South Korea are slowing and that this is feeding through to consumer spending on discretionary goods.
But brewer SABMiller had some bright spots, including parts of Africa and also eastern Europe, where new premium product launches helped boost sales.
Diageo, the maker of Guinness, Baileys and Johnnie Walker whisky, said volume fell 1% in the three months to the end of March and sales growth was 4%, below forecasts, despite strength in its biggest business, US spirits.
Growth slowed in all Diageo's emerging market regions, with weak consumer sentiment particularly noted in Brazil, where retail sales have fallen as consumers feel the pinch of a struggling economy and high inflation.
Nigeria was also weak, as was South Korea, where the scotch market has been in decline as consumers trade down, Diageo said.
Analysts said that Diageo's fundamentals remained unchanged and that technical issues related to shipment phasing had distorted the numbers.
"Given our market positions and geographic diversity we remain confident that Diageo's performance continues to be in line with our medium term guidance," said Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh in a statement.
Brewer SABMiller, maker of Peroni and Grolsch, also flagged weak demand in Latin America. It reported an overall 3% rise in lager volumes for the quarter, in line with estimates, but posted a surprise 1% drop in Latin America, its biggest region.
SABMiller does not have a significant presence in Brazil but has over 90% of the market in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, where it sells brands like Aguila and Cusquena. Softer economic conditions, local dry laws in Peru and Ecuador and a price increase in December all impacted on sales in the period, the firm said.
However, strong trading in Zambia and Mozambique led to 9% volume growth in Africa, with Europe also performing well, driven by new premium launches in Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, French spirits group Remy Cointreau posted better than expected quarterly sales growth of 12.4%, as cognac demand for the Chinese New Year celebrations held up and sales rose in Russia and Britain.
Remy's statement reassured the market on the resilience of cognac in Asia, after Pernod Ricard had flagged that its Chinese New Year business had slowed due, in part, to the new government clampdown on luxury gifts.