2022
9
UK White Spirits and RTDs Market Report 2022
2022-02-25T03:07:07+00:00
OX1100777
2195
148273
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"Pressure on household incomes in 2022 will erode sales of white spirits owing to their relatively high price and discretionary nature. Promoting simple and relatively inexpensive mixed drink recipes and…

UK White Spirits and RTDs Market Report 2022

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK White Spirits and RTDs market research report identifies consumer attitudes towards value and volume sales, trends in launch activity, and leading usage occasions in the UK. This market report covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation and RTD industry trends for the Wines and Spirits industry in the UK.

Current Market Landscape

White spirits’ strong associations with celebrations are a key purchase driver for this category and can be mined to support sales even amidst the income squeeze and alcohol moderation trend. Looking beyond infrequent special occasions such as parties, focusing on more low-key at-home occasions and marking everyday achievements hold untapped potential for driving sales.

  • Some 79% of category drinkers/buyers see white spirits as helping make celebratory occasions feel more special..
  • Value sales of white spirits and RTDs are projected to rise by 12.7% to reach £7.6 billion between 2021-26.
  • Some 36% of adults reduced their alcohol intake in the 12 months to April 2021, up from 33% in 2019.

Pressure on household incomes in 2022 will erode sales of white spirits owing to their relatively high price and discretionary nature. Promoting simple and relatively inexpensive mixed drink recipes and further NPD in smaller formats designed to hit a more accessible price point should help brands to support sales during the income squeeze. These smaller formats would also align well with the current alcohol moderation trend.

Future Market Trends in White Spirits and RTDs 

The ageing UK population, in particular the projected decline in the population of 18-34s over 2021-26, will impede sales of both white spirits and RTDs given that both have a significant youth bias in their usage.

RTDs being sold in smaller packs, and therefore at a more accessible price per can/bottle, means they should continue to outperform white spirits during the income squeeze. Their relatively low ABV will also stand them in good stead amid the alcohol moderation trend. However, in light of consumer interest in the quality of the mixers used in RTDs, brands must reassure consumers of the drinks’ high-quality ingredients in order to drive purchase, helping them to appeal as a premium yet affordable treat.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK Drinks market research.

Quickly understand

  • The expected impact of the income squeeze on value and volume sales of white spirits and RTDs.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on off- and on-trade sales of white spirits and RTDs over 2020-21 and after-effects over 2022-26.
  • Trends in launch activity for both white spirits and RTDs and opportunities for further innovation.
  • The importance of relaxing at home as the leading usage occasion for white spirits and RTDs, and other key occasions.
  • Retail purchase channels for white spirits.

Covered in this report

Products: Vodka, gin, white rum, tequila, RTD (ready-to-drink).

Brands: Halewood International (JJ Whitley), Pernod Ricard (Absolut), Roust Group (Russian Standard), Loch Lomond Group (Glen’s), Diageo (Smirnoff, Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Captain Morgon), Bacardi Martini (Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire), Whyte & Mackay (Vladivar), G&J Distillers (Greenall’s), William Grant & Sons (Hendrick’s), Beam Suntory (Sipsmith), SHS Group (WKD), Corinthian Brands (Dragon Soop), Maxxium UK (Sourz), The Biggar Gin Co., Kopparberg, Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Whisky Exchange, Majestic, Destilerias Sierra Unidas, Tequila Cuervo La Rojena (Jose Cuervo), Burleighs, Green Man, NB Distillery, Discarded, Hyke, Jim & Tonic, Spirits of Virtue, Bloody Classic, Nohrlund, Harvey Nicholls, Booths, Beefeater, Havana Club, Funkin Nitro Cocktails, Berczy, CleanCo, Strykk Not G*N & Tonic, Mavrik, Bud Light, Bedega Bay.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Alice Baker, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Pressure on household incomes in 2022 will erode sales of white spirits owing to their relatively high price and discretionary nature. Promoting simple and relatively inexpensive mixed drink recipes and further NPD in smaller formats designed to hit a more accessible price point should help brands to support sales during the income squeeze. These smaller formats would also align well with the current alcohol moderation trend.

Alice Baker
Senior Food & Drink Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • COVID-19: market context
          • Economic and other assumptions
            • Products covered in this Report
            • Executive Summary

                • The five-year outlook for white spirits and RTDs
                  • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-26
                • The market
                  • Sustained volume sales and volatile value sales growth over 2016-21
                    • Inflation and declining volume sales anticipated for 2022-26
                      • Figure 2: Market forecast for value sales of white spirits and RTDs, 2016-26
                    • Gin volume sales falter and RTDs continue to perform strongly in 2021
                      • Figure 3: Value sales of white spirits and RTDs, by segment, 2016-21
                    • On-trade regains ground in 2021, but not up to pre-pandemic levels
                      • Figure 4: UK value and volume sales of white spirits and RTDs in the on- and off-trade,, 2019-21
                    • Various factors put upward pressure on white spirits prices
                      • Alcohol moderation trend gains pace in 2021
                        • Alcohol duty freeze offers some relief to the industry
                          • Minimum unit pricing on alcoholic drinks cuts consumption
                            • Companies and brands
                              • Smirnoff outperforms its segment in 2021, Bacardi loses out to competitors
                                • Figure 5: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail vodka market, 2018/19-2020/21
                              • Colourful, seasonal and low/no launches continue in white spirits
                                • Launches in RTDs follow major spirits trends, hard seltzers attract further activity
                                  • Advertising spend on white spirits rebounds in 2021
                                    • The consumer
                                      • Nearly seven in 10 adults drink white spirits
                                        • Figure 6: Usage of white spirits, by type, 2020 and 2021
                                      • RTDs are drunk by 45% of adults
                                        • Figure 7: Usage of RTDs, by type, 2020 and 2021
                                      • Relaxing at home is the leading usage occasion for most white spirits
                                        • Figure 8: Usage occasions for white spirits and RTDs, 2021
                                      • Brands must engage with the growing online retail channel
                                        • Figure 9: Locations for buying white spirits, 2021
                                      • White spirits buyers are evenly split on brand loyalty
                                        • Figure 10: Buying factors for white spirits, 2021
                                      • White spirits are strongly associated with celebrations
                                        • Figure 11: Behaviours relating to white spirits, 2021
                                    • Issues and Insights

                                      • Offer simple recipe suggestions and smaller formats to support sales amid income squeeze
                                        • Focus on low-key everyday celebrations to drive purchase
                                          • Highlight ingredient quality, including mixers, to encourage buying of RTDs
                                          • Market Size and Performance

                                            • Sustained volume sales growth with volatile value sales over 2016-21
                                              • Figure 12: Total value and volume sales of white spirits and RTDs, 2016-21
                                          • Market Forecast

                                            • Income squeeze to limit sales in the short term, and the ageing population in the longer term
                                              • Figure 13: Category outlook, 2022-26
                                            • Inflation and declining volume sales anticipated for 2022-26
                                              • Further on-trade recovery in 2022 will boost value sales, but tempered by the income squeeze
                                                • On-trade will struggle to regain its pre-pandemic position
                                                  • Ageing UK population and alcohol moderation trend to hinder sales over 2022-26
                                                      • Figure 14: Market forecast for value sales of white spirits and RTDs, 2016-26
                                                      • Figure 15: Market forecast for volume sales of white spirits and RTDs, 2016-26
                                                    • Market drivers and assumptions
                                                      • Figure 16: Key drivers affecting Mintel’s market forecast, 2015-26
                                                    • Forecast methodology
                                                    • Market Segmentation

                                                      • RTDs continue to outperform in 2021
                                                        • Figure 17: Total value and volume sales of white spirits and RTDs, by segment, 2016-21
                                                      • Loss of on-trade and weak summer see gin volume sales falter in 2021
                                                      • Channels to Market

                                                        • On-trade regains ground in 2021, but not to its pre-pandemic levels
                                                          • Figure 18: UK value and volume sales of white spirits and RTDs in the on- and off-trade, by type, 2019-21
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • GDP reached pre-pandemic levels in November 2021…
                                                          • …but the post-COVID-19 bounce-back will be followed by a period of slower growth
                                                            • Employment has held up better than expected
                                                                • Figure 19: Usage of white spirits and RTDs, by employment status, 2021
                                                              • Inflationary pressures are mounting
                                                                • Consumers’ financial wellbeing has slipped from its recent high point…
                                                                  • Figure 20: Household financial wellbeing index, 2018-21
                                                                • …and concerns over inflation are coming to the fore
                                                                  • Figure 21: Consumer concerns about household finances, October-December 2021
                                                                • Consumers’ reduced financial confidence will erode category sales
                                                                  • Younger adults being insulated from some of the effects of the income squeeze should support white spirits sales
                                                                    • Figure 22: Selected issues consumers have faced in the last 2 months, by age, 2021
                                                                  • Well-known brands could fare better than newcomers during income squeeze
                                                                    • Smaller formats could help brands to maintain sales
                                                                      • Summary of key economic data, 2020-26
                                                                        • Figure 23: Key economic data, 2020-26
                                                                      • COVID-19 continues to constrict on-trade sales growth in 2021
                                                                        • Hospitality sector expresses concerns over vaccine passport scheme
                                                                          • Pub closures continue
                                                                            • Various factors affect white spirits prices
                                                                              • Gin exports fall over 2019-21
                                                                                • Ageing UK population offers little support for either white spirits or RTDs
                                                                                  • Figure 24: Usage of white spirits and RTDs, by age, 2021
                                                                                • Alcohol moderation trend gains pace in 2021
                                                                                  • Distillery openings continue to increase, despite the pandemic
                                                                                  • Regulatory and Legislative Changes

                                                                                    • Alcohol duty freeze offers some relief to the industry
                                                                                      • More governments impose minimum unit pricing on alcoholic drinks
                                                                                        • Government consults on calorie labelling for alcoholic drinks
                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                          • Smirnoff outperforms the retail vodka market
                                                                                            • Figure 25: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail vodka market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                          • JJ Whitley benefits from the continuing popularity of flavoured spirits
                                                                                            • Gordon’s loses sales in 2021, but less than the overall retail gin segment
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail gin market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                            • Tanqueray bucks the decline in retail gin sales
                                                                                              • Bacardi loses ground to rival brands and own-label in white rum
                                                                                                • Figure 27: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail white rum market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                              • Smaller brands and own-label gain share of the tequila/mezcal market
                                                                                                • Figure 28: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail tequila/mezcal market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                              • Multiple brands benefit from the continued growth in RTDs in 2021
                                                                                                • Figure 29: Leading brands’ sales and shares in the UK retail RTD alcoholic drinks market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation: White Spirits

                                                                                              • Spirits continue to appear in an array of colours in 2021
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Examples of colourful spirits launches, 2021
                                                                                                • Limited edition and seasonal launches continue
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Examples of white spirits launches with limited edition and seasonal flavours, 2021
                                                                                                • Aldi aims for both daytime and evening occasions with summer solstice gins
                                                                                                  • Bacardi targets Halloween with limited edition packaging design
                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Bacardi targets Halloween with glow-in-the-dark bottle, 2021
                                                                                                  • White spirits brands take action on sustainability
                                                                                                    • Leading brands overhaul their packaging
                                                                                                      • Craft brands explore paper bottles
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Examples of white spirits launch in cardboard packaging, 2021
                                                                                                      • Bombay Sapphire aims for full sustainable certification
                                                                                                        • Adnams launches gin refill scheme
                                                                                                          • Further activity in products reusing surplus ingredients
                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Examples of white spirits reusing surplus ingredients, 2021
                                                                                                          • Craft brands support conservation projects
                                                                                                            • Competition heats up in tequila/mezcal
                                                                                                              • Further exploration of hybrid drinks
                                                                                                                • Figure 35: Jim & Tonic Gin takes cues from craft beer category, 2021
                                                                                                              • Brands and retailers explore cocktail kits
                                                                                                                • Further activity in non-alcoholic spirits alternatives
                                                                                                                  • Tanqueray adds zero-alcohol variant
                                                                                                                    • Niche brands launch non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ with a craft/premium positioning
                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Examples of non-alcoholic spirit launches with a craft/premium positioning, 2021
                                                                                                                    • Further activity in non-alcoholic pink ‘gins’
                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Example of a low/non-alcoholic pink ‘gin’ launch, 2021
                                                                                                                    • Ceder’s unveils non-alcoholic white rum
                                                                                                                      • More brands explore lower-ABV options
                                                                                                                        • Adnams creates higher-ABV gin to push moderation message
                                                                                                                        • Launch Activity and Innovation: RTDs

                                                                                                                          • Premium launches continue
                                                                                                                            • Trend for recreating cocktails from the on-trade continues
                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Examples of RTD launches based on cocktails popular in the on-trade, 2021
                                                                                                                            • Brands and retailers launch RTDs with ethical certifications
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Examples of RTD launches with ethical certifications, 2021
                                                                                                                            • Booths looks to find new occasions through serving suggestions
                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Booths’ Bucks Fizz offers on-pack serving suggestions, 2021
                                                                                                                            • Leading brands release RTD versions of colourful spirits
                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Examples of RTD versions of colourful spirits, 2021
                                                                                                                            • Companies explore a wider range of base spirits
                                                                                                                              • More rum-based RTDs appear on the market
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Examples of rum-based RTD launches, 2021
                                                                                                                                • Smokehead claims UK first with single malt RTD
                                                                                                                                  • Trend for winter flavours continues
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Examples of seasonal RTD launches with winter flavours, 2021
                                                                                                                                  • M&S looks to appeal for gifting and to reach older adults
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Marks & Spencer’s Mother’s Day-themed RTD cocktail launch
                                                                                                                                  • Leading and niche brands launch non-alcoholic RTDs
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 45: Examples of non-alcoholic RTD launches, 2021
                                                                                                                                  • Hard seltzers launch activity continues
                                                                                                                                    • Beer brands extend into the RTD category with hard seltzer launches
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Examples of branded hard seltzer launches, 2020-21
                                                                                                                                    • Some launches adopt a premium positioning
                                                                                                                                      • Own-label launches up the competition for brands
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Examples of own-label hard seltzer launches, 2021
                                                                                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                      • Advertising on white spirits revives in 2021
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on white spirits^ and RTDs, 2019-21 (ordered by 2021)
                                                                                                                                      • Diageo remains the leading advertiser in 2021 despite cutting spending
                                                                                                                                        • Tanqueray recruits Stanley Tucci to showcase its versatility
                                                                                                                                          • Gordon’s promotes its non-alcoholic variant with new TV advert…
                                                                                                                                            • …and focuses on occasions in social media campaign for its standard range
                                                                                                                                              • Smirnoff teams up with Fever Tree on spritz-focused campaign
                                                                                                                                                • Bacardi Martini concentrates on Bombay Sapphire in its 2021 advertising
                                                                                                                                                  • Bombay Sapphire aims for multisensory appeal in new cinema advert…
                                                                                                                                                    • …and looks to build trendy image through collaboration with artists
                                                                                                                                                      • Grey Goose focuses on nature and idyllic summer moments in new campaign
                                                                                                                                                        • CleanCo promotes a permissible treat message
                                                                                                                                                          • Beefeater promotes its heritage while also looking to gain trendy appeal
                                                                                                                                                            • Malibu celebrates reunions with friends and family in summer campaign
                                                                                                                                                              • Whitley Neill makes its TV advertising debut
                                                                                                                                                                • WKD focuses on friendship in Christmas campaign
                                                                                                                                                                  • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                  • Brand Research

                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Attitudes towards and usage of selected brands, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                      • Key brand metrics
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Key metrics for selected brands, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand attitudes: Whitley Neill is the most widely seen as innovative
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Attitudes, by brand, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand personality: Smirnoff scores well on perceived accessibility
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Brand personality – macro image, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                      • Gordon’s has a strong image as traditional
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Brand personality – micro image, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                      • Brand analysis
                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumers’ low loyalty puts all analysed brands at risk of switching
                                                                                                                                                                          • Smirnoff and Gordon’s come top on trust and value perceptions
                                                                                                                                                                            • Whitley Neill comes top on the fun factor
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Perceptions of selected white spirits brands as ‘fun’, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                            • Gordon’s beats Bombay Sapphire on traditional associations
                                                                                                                                                                              • Absolut wins on perceived purity, but only 15% describe it as such
                                                                                                                                                                                • Whitley Neill is the most widely seen as innovative, although only a third think so
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Russian Standard needs to strengthen its quality associations
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key demographic groups
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Usage of White Spirits and RTDs

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nearly seven in 10 adults drink white spirits
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Usage of white spirits, by type, 2020 and 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                      • The ageing population will disadvantage sales of white spirits
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Recommendations and historical recipes can help to keep older adults engaged
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Drinking with a single mixer leads for all types of white spirit, except tequila/mezcal
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Drinking of different serves of white spirits, by type, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                          • RTDs are drunk by 45% of adults
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Usage of RTDs, by type, 2020 and 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                          • RTDs will also lose out from the ageing UK population
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Usage Occasions for White Spirits and RTDs

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Relaxing at home is the leading usage occasion for all white spirits, apart from tequila/mezcal
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Usage occasions for white spirits and RTDs, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recommend interesting mixed drinks for relaxing occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Link with music streaming services to strengthen relaxing associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Promote pre-mixed versions as boosting the relaxing aspect
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Few people drink any type of white spirits or RTDs with meals
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Promote spirits as meal accompaniments to project a versatile image and drive usage
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Use various methods both in-store and online to attract shoppers’ attention
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Link-ups with meal kit delivery services should be effective in reaching young adults
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Examples for other alcoholic drinks and from soft drinks offer cues here
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Food pairing suggestions on menus and spirits ‘flights’ should appeal in the on-trade
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Locations for Buying White Spirits

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brands must engage with the growing online retail channel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 59: Buying channels for white spirits, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Supermarkets lead on both in-store and online buying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 60: Locations for buying white spirits, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • A third buy white spirits from discount supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Under-35s are the most likely to buy white spirits from discounters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Buying Factors for White Spirits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • White spirits buyers are fairly evenly split in terms of brand loyalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Buying factors for white spirits, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brands are under pressure to continue with promotions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Risk of brands losing sales during income squeeze
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Quality awards and sustainable claims can extend appeal beyond brand loyalists
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • A third of buyers are swayed by recommendations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Discounts and ‘Share your Knowledge’ marketing messages can help to incentivise recommendations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Behaviours Relating to White Spirits and RTDs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • White spirits are strongly associated with celebrations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 62: Behaviours relating to white spirits, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Scope for expansion in greetings-cards-with-spirits formats
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 63: Absolut’s birthday gifting format, 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 65: Example of Cadbury Chocolate Gift Cards range, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Concerns about expense and lack of space put people off buying white spirits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Raise consumer awareness of simple and inexpensive mixed drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Smaller spirits bottles can appeal on value and alcohol moderation grounds
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Eight in 10 drinkers favour RTDs with high-quality mixers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Behaviours relating to RTDs, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • References to ingredient quality and naturalness should boost premium associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Explore more unusual flavours for mixers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Further opportunities for link-ups between spirits and soft drinks brands
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Market Share

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 67: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK retail vodka market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 68: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK retail gin market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 69: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK retail white rum market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 70: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK retail tequila/mezcal market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 71: Leading brand owners’ sales and shares in the UK retail RTD alcoholic drinks market, 2018/19-2020/21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 72: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on white spirits^, by top four advertisers, 2019-21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Usage of White Spirits and RTDs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Drinking of different serves of white spirits, by type, 2021
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Repertoire of types of white spirits drunk, by age, 2021

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