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RTD Alcoholic Beverages - US - December 2014

“Sales in the RTD alcoholic beverage category will grow for the foreseeable future, but this category has a history of up-and-down performances, from the heyday of the launch of wine coolers to the growth of alcopops and flavored alcoholic beverages, and the accompanying demise between the emergence of each. Due to the increased competition from (and consumer interest in) white and dark spirits, as well as other forms of alcohol, this era of RTD alcoholic beverage growth could be its shortest yet.”
– William Roberts, Jr., Senior Food and Drink Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • The RTD alcoholic beverage category should draw inspiration from mixologists and popular cocktails
  • Flavor drives Millennial consumers
  • RTDs should promote their convenience and premium qualities
 

The RTD (ready-to-drink) alcoholic beverage market in the US has been enjoying a boon in recent years, fueled largely by the growth in flavored malt beverages. The next several years should see that segment continue to propel the category to new sales heights, levels unseen since the flavored alcoholic beverage and alcopops fad in the early 2000s.

The category’s other two segments (wine coolers and spirits-based prepared cocktails) will provide something of a drag to the overall growth, with each segment seeing sales drops in all but the best-case scenarios.

This report includes RTD (ready-to-drink) premade alcoholic beverages, including wine coolers, flavored malt beverages, and prepared spirits-based cocktails.

This report excludes the following categories, which are covered in Mintel’s Dark Spirits – US, October 2014:

  • Whiskey/whisky, which includes the following subsegments:

  • Canadian whisky

  • Straight American whiskey, including bourbon and unaged white whiskey (also known as moonshine; the report covers legally sold, unaged white whiskey marketed as moonshine, not the illegally made varieties often associated with the term in various regions of the US).

  • Scotch whisky

  • Blended American whiskey

  • Irish whiskey

  • Brandy and cognac, as well as Armagnac.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • Flavored malt beverages will grow through 2018
                          • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of flavored malt beverages, at current prices, 2009-18
                        • Younger consumers more likely to drink RTD alcoholic beverages
                          • Figure 2: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                        • Other alcoholic beverage types vie for Millennial attention
                          • Figure 3: Alcoholic beverage purchases, by generations – Any consumption, February 2014
                        • Consumers more interested in flavor than brands of RTD alcoholic beverages
                          • Figure 4: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                        • Consumers turn to RTD alcoholic beverages to test untried flavors or cocktails
                          • Figure 5: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                        • Taste compels most usage of RTD alcoholic beverages
                          • Figure 6: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                        • Consumers seeking savory flavors in RTD alcoholic beverages
                          • Figure 7: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                        • RTD alcoholic beverages are not solely the drink of the youth
                          • Figure 8: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                        • Consumer interest in organic/natural RTD alcoholic beverages
                          • Figure 9: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by gender, September 2014
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                            • The RTD alcoholic beverage category should draw inspiration from mixologists and popular cocktails
                              • Issues
                                • Insights
                                  • Flavor drives Millennial consumers
                                    • Issues
                                      • Insights
                                        • RTDs should promote their convenience and premium qualities
                                          • Issues
                                            • Insights
                                            • Trend Applications

                                                • Trend: Fauxthenticity
                                                  • Trend: Green and Lean
                                                    • Trend: The Big Issue
                                                    • Market/Segment Size and Forecast

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Flavored malt beverages set the pace for the RTD alcoholic beverage category
                                                          • Figure 10: US volume sales of flavored malt beverages, 2009-18
                                                        • Prepared spirits-based cocktail sales to drop
                                                          • Figure 11: US volume sales of prepared spirits-based cocktails, 2009-18
                                                        • Wine cooler sales can not afford to cool much more
                                                          • Figure 12: US volume sales of wine coolers, 2009-18
                                                        • Flavored malt beverages will grow through 2018
                                                          • Figure 13: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of flavored malt beverages, at current prices, 2009-18
                                                        • Prepared spirits-based cocktail sales to fall
                                                          • Figure 14: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of prepared spirits-based cocktails, at current prices, 2009-18
                                                        • Wine coolers show no sign of warming
                                                          • Figure 15: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of wine coolers, at current prices, 2009-18
                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                        • Market Drivers

                                                          • Hispanic population growth could lead to category growth
                                                            • Figure 16: US population by race and Hispanic origin, 2009-19
                                                          • Millennials most likely to consume RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                            • Figure 17: US population, by generation share, 2014
                                                        • Competitive Context

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Millennials lead in alcoholic beverage consumption, versatility
                                                              • Figure 18: Alcoholic beverage purchases, by generations – Any consumption, February 2014
                                                          • Leading Companies and Marketing Strategies

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Flavor innovation drives RTD segment
                                                                • Figure 19: Adult volume consumption of flavored alcoholic beverages – Noncoolers (ready to drink) – By brands, by age, April 2013-June 2014
                                                                • Figure 20: Smirnoff Ice, “Playoff Preparada,” TV Commercial, September 2014
                                                                • Figure 21: Malibu, “Best Summer Ever,” TV Commercial, May 2014
                                                                • Figure 22: Budweiser, “Fiesta Forever,” TV Commercial, July 2014
                                                            • Innovations and Innovators

                                                              • Most RTD introductions in bottles, with pouches and cans vying for a distant second
                                                                • Figure 23: RTD alcoholic beverage introductions, by package type, 2010-14
                                                              • Flavors fuel RTD alcoholic beverage launches
                                                                • Figure 24: Most popular flavors (including flavor blends) in US RTD alcoholic beverage introductions, 2009-13*
                                                              • Familiar libations add to RTD introductions
                                                                • Variety packs provide opportunity to sample RTDs
                                                                  • International launches draw inspiration from traditional mixed drinks
                                                                  • The Consumer – Frequency of Consumption

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Just over a third of consumers consumed RTD alcoholic beverages in the past three months
                                                                        • Figure 25: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                      • RTD alcohol consumption skews younger
                                                                          • Figure 26: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                        • Higher-income households more likely to consume RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                          • Figure 27: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                        • Households with children more likely to consume
                                                                          • Figure 28: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                        • Majority of urban households had an RTD alcoholic beverage in the past three months, far more than those from the suburbs or rural locations
                                                                          • Figure 29: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by area, September 2014
                                                                        • Premade cocktail consumption surges in past year
                                                                          • Figure 30: Adult volume consumption of prepared cocktail mixes with liquor, April 2009-June 2014
                                                                        • Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers
                                                                          • Few non-RTD drinkers express an interest in trying the beverages
                                                                            • Figure 31: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by gender, September 2014
                                                                            • Figure 32: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by generations, September 2014
                                                                        • The Consumer – Learning about RTD Alcoholic Beverages

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Word of mouth sells RTD alcoholic beverages, with internet ads notably effective among men
                                                                                • Figure 33: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                              • Half of all consumers rely on word of mouth to learn about RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                  • Figure 34: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by age, September 2014
                                                                                • Social, new media inform Millennials’ awareness of RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                  • Figure 35: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                • Store sampling strongly influences rural consumers, while social media impacts urban consumers much more so
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by area, September 2014
                                                                                • The Consumer and RTD Branding

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • Flavor plays a key role in RTD purchase decisions
                                                                                        • Figure 37: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                      • Almost a quarter of Millennials and Baby Boomers look to RTDs to try a cocktail they have never had
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                        • Brands resonate most strongly with lower-income households
                                                                                            • Figure 39: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                        • The Consumer – Flavors and RTD Alcoholic Beverages

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Savory flavor options of significant interest to RTD drinkers
                                                                                                • Figure 40: Flavors of RTD alcoholic beverages, September 2014
                                                                                              • Younger consumers interested in spicy-flavored RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                • Figure 41: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                              • Younger consumers regard RTDs as a means of trying new-to-them cocktails/mixed drinks
                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                • All generations open to trying RTDs from unfamiliar brands
                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                • Almost six in 10 of households with children note RTDs help them control calories when drinking
                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                              • The Consumer – Factors Impacting RTD Alcohol Purchase

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Taste compels more than half of consumers to purchase RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                  • Baby Boomers appreciate the convenience of RTDs
                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                    • Variety resonates most strongly among households with children
                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                  • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Flavor, brand inform most Hispanic RTD alcohol purchases
                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Friends/family/co-workers impact Hispanic purchases of RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                      • RTD variety resonates particularly with Hispanic consumers
                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Nearly two thirds of Hispanics would like savory RTDs
                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Hispanics most likely interested in a can form of Long Island Iced Tea
                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Formats for cocktails, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Bottled Sangria resonates most strongly with Hispanic consumers
                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Formats for cocktails, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                      • Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Frequency of consuming RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Attitudes of non-RTD drinkers
                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by area, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Learning about RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                      • RTD alcoholic beverage brand and flavor preferences
                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by area, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Why consumers choose RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by area, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages
                                                                                                        • Figure 88: Flavors of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 89: Flavors of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 90: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 91: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 92: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 93: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 94: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 95: Perceptions of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 96: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 97: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 98: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 99: Flavors/brands of RTD alcoholic beverages – Any agree, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Formats for cocktails
                                                                                                        • Figure 100: Formats for cocktails, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 101: Formats for cocktails, by gender, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 102: Formats for cocktails, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 103: Formats for cocktails, by generations, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 104: Formats for cocktails, by household income, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 105: Formats for cocktails, by presence of children in household, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 106: Formats for cocktails, by area, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 107: Formats for cocktails, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 108: Formats for cocktails, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 109: Formats for cocktails, by census regions – Divisions, September 2014
                                                                                                      • Race/Hispanic Origin
                                                                                                        • Figure 110: Interest in RTDs among non-RTD drinkers, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                        • Figure 111: Attributes of RTD alcoholic beverages, by race/Hispanic origin, September 2014
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Trade Associations

                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                      • Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc
                                                                                                      • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                      • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                      RTD Alcoholic Beverages - US - December 2014

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