RTD alcohol market share to double by 202526 Oct 2021
Since 2018, volume sales of alcoholic ready-to-drink options have been growing more quickly than other major drink categories, according to new data from IWSR, a drinks market analyst firm.
By 2025, the research firm says that the category share is set to double from 4% to 8% of the overall alcoholic beverage market, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15% year over year. The popularity of RTD beverages is proliferating at a rapid pace, and it is no longer only U.S. customers that are enjoying this category. IWSR’s research showed that while the U.S. market may be edging toward saturation, there is ample room for growth in 10 markets that represent 85% of worldwide RTD volumes.
“Hard seltzer volumes outside the U.S. are small, but awareness is also low. As that awareness grows, we’re seeing that people are increasingly willing to consider trying these products,” Brandy Rand, COO of the Americas at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis said in a statement.
As with many alcohol categories, premiumization is one of the major driving trends in the space, Rand noted. In a category that was trailblazed by White Claw and Truly seltzer, there is now a plethora of alternative options, including Bombay Sapphire canned gin and tonic, Drinkworks, Russian Standard, and Travis Scott’s hard seltzer Cacti.
However, creating a premium brand is not as simple as being the newest entrant to the market. IWSR research shows that 56% of RTD drinkers view the regular release of new flavors to be the No.1 faction to establish premium positioning. Similarly, the research firm found that an individual’s connection to a new brand and the use of innovative packaging helps bolster this premium image. There is also a clear preference among U.S. consumers for sprits-based RTDs as they consider them to be of higher quality, and many other markets hold canned spirits in the same esteem.
Canada, the U.K., China and Australia are the four markets that IWSR predicts will experience the largest overall volume growth by 2025, increasing 50%, 90%, 84%, 24% respectively. However, consumers in each market appear to be interested in a slightly different subset of the overall RTD category. In Australia, Germany, Canada and Mexico canned cocktails are particularly in vogue and are forecast to grow almost 9% compound annual growth rate by 2025. In Brazil, China, Japan and South Africa flavored alcohol beverages in cans are heating up and are forecast to grow at a 7% compound annual growth rate by 2025.
As the category continues to grow, soft drink companies and brewers – two categories where sales have been trending downward for a number of years – are also getting into the game as they try to capitalize on the popularity of these perpetually popular products.
"Many well-known brands, from water to energy drinks to coffee, have recently crossed over into alcoholic RTDs, leading to several strategic partnerships between soft drinks, beer, and spirits companies to successfully leverage distribution across multiple outlets,” noted Rand. Anheuser-Busch and Diageo are two major brewers that have recently made moves to position themselves more squarely in the RTD space.
These findings that boast a continued surge in growth for these canned alcoholic beverages are promising following industry predictions that the RTD bubble was about to burst following this summer’s lower-than-expected sales of Boston’s Truly hard seltzer, which is one of the market leaders in the space.
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