2021
9
US RTD Alcoholic Beverages Market Report 2021
2022-01-13T03:10:54+00:00
OX1045711
3695
146773
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Report
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“The strong attention placed on the RTD alcoholic beverages category leading into 2020, driven by seltzer excitement and prepared cocktail quality improvements, was further intensified amid the pandemic. Home drinkers…

US RTD Alcoholic Beverages Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Description

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US RTD Alcoholic Beverages market including US RTD Alcoholic Beverages market size and growth, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the RTD Alcoholic Beverages market in the US.

Current market landscape

Even as consumers increasingly practice alcohol moderation, the RTD alcoholic beverages category continues to adopt new users. 49% of US adults aged 22+ drink RTDs in 2021, up from 40% in 2018. Convenience and variety are driving momentum, especially during a time of limited on-premise consumption, which would typically be the playground for trial and exploration. The category escaped declines seen in other alcohol categories during the pandemic, insulated from on-premise losses due to being more of an off-premise option.

One in five hard seltzer drinkers (and 13% of premixed spirits-based cocktail drinkers) did so for the first time during the pandemic, and a quarter of drinkers increased their category participation during the pandemic, largely driven by new flavor trials. A prolonged period of at-home entertainment will support the category in the near term, as consumers navigate hybrid work environments and continued apprehension about the safety of on-premise drinking.

Future trends in the RTD alcoholic beverages market

While the category moves forward, leaders are losing share, giving way to the onslaught of new brands entering the space. 85% of alcoholic seltzer drinkers like trying different brands, lowering the barrier to trial. Introducing variety within brands, including flavors, formats and drink types, will be a means of securing patronage. While quality perceptions have improved, the perception of processed ingredients limits greater adoption. Brands must focus on clean formulations, natural ingredients, flavor quality, and reduced sugar to enhance permissibility.

Read on to discover more about the US RTD Alcoholic Beverages consumer market, read our US Alcoholic Beverages Online Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Drinks research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the RTD alcoholic beverages market.
  • Reasons for choosing RTD alcoholic beverages over other alcohol types.
  • Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverages consumption.
  • Where RTDs fit within the wider alcohol landscape.
  • RTD Alcohol volume share.

Covered in this report

Brands include: White Claw, Truly, Drake’s Organic Boxtails, Perlola White Sangria, Ketel One, Miami Cocktail, The Finnish Long Drink, Primer, Mamitas, Five Drinks Co, Onda Tequila Seltzer, Tanqueray, 1220 Spirits Aviation Gin, Bombay Sapphire, Daily’s Poptails, Claffey’s Frozen Cocktails, Ritas Freeze-A-Rita, Plain Spoke Cocktail Co, Twelve5’s Rebel Hard Coffee, Bud Light Ugly Sweater Seltzer, Jose cuervo Playa mar, Shot Gun Spiked Seltzer, Lake Life.

Alcohol types included:

  • Flavored malt beverages – includes prepared malt beverages such as Bud Light Lime-a-Rita.
  • Prepared spirits-based cocktails – drinks such as Bacardi Classic Cocktails Mojito that are made with distilled spirits.
  • Wine coolers – made with wine combined with fruit juices and other sweeteners.

Mixers excluded:

  • “Just add alcohol” mixes designed for specific cocktails (eg Bloody Mary mix, margarita mix).
  • Non-alcoholic mixers that are traditionally positioned for use with alcohol to make cocktails (eg bitters, grenadine).

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

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

The strong attention placed on the RTD alcoholic beverages category leading into 2020, driven by seltzer excitement and prepared cocktail quality improvements, was further intensified amid the pandemic. Home drinkers looking for convenient variety gave the category a shot and explored within it, moving RTDs from occasional party drinks to more viable options for casual and even solo drinking.
Beth Bloom, Associate Director – US Food and Drink Reports
Beth Bloom
Associate Director, US Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Impact of COVID-19 on RTD alcoholic beverages
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on RTD alcoholic beverages, December 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • RTDs move in the right direction on quality, but remain limited by sugar
      • Figure 2: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, 2020-21
    • Leaders can no longer rest on brand recognition, must compete other attributes
      • Figure 3: Alcohol statements – Seltzer brands, 2021
    • RTD variety supported the need to diversify home drinking
      • Figure 4: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, 2021
    • Flavor is key to category engagement, room exists for improved perceptions
      • Figure 5: RTD alcoholic beverage choice factors, 2020 and 2021
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • All segments continue growth, only slight slowdown in sight
    • Wine coolers see long overdue turnaround
    • Health goals drive a slowdown in alcohol consumption
    • Prolonged at-home drinking will play to RTD strengths, challenge weaknesses
  4. Market Size and Forecast

    • Volume sales of FMBs continue strong growth
      • Figure 6: Total US volume sales and forecast of flavored malt beverages, 2016-24
      • Figure 7: Total US volume sales and forecast of flavored malt beverages, 2016-24
    • Prepared spirits-based cocktails have staying power
      • Figure 8: Total US volume sales and forecast of prepared spirits-based cocktails, 2016-23
      • Figure 9: Total US volume sales and forecast of prepared spirits-based cocktails, 2016-23
    • Wine coolers see sales turnaround
      • Figure 10: Total US volume sales and forecast of wine coolers, 2016-24
      • Figure 11: Total US volume sales and forecast of wine coolers, 2016-24
      • Figure 12: RTD alcoholic beverage launches, by share of launch type, 2020-21
    • Impact of COVID-19 on RTD alcoholic beverages
  5. Market Factors

    • Moderation is all the rage
      • Figure 13: Change in alcohol consumption, by age, 2021
    • Younger drinkers want to stay on their game
      • Figure 14: Reason for drinking less, by age, 2021
    • Health positioning is not a panacea
      • Figure 15: Health-related alcohol attitudes, 2021
    • Variants cause uptick in coronavirus exposure fears
      • Figure 16: Coronavirus exposure concern – Net – Any worried, 2020-21
    • Consumers are comfortable gathering, less so at restaurants and bars
      • Figure 17: Coronavirus exposure concern – Net – Any worried, 2021
    • Home-based workforce supports prolonged home drinking
      • Figure 18: Work expectations for 2021, 2021
    • Consumers are split on their intentions for hosting events at home
      • Figure 19: At-home hosting expectations in 2021, 2021
      • Figure 20: RTD alcoholic beverage launches featuring bag-in-box packaging, 2021
  6. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • RTDs are finding success aligning with general alcohol trends
    • Variety remains key to category appeal
    • Stand apart from the competition by exploring next-level flavors of interest
    • Ginning up success and refreshment
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Low ABV offerings see high growth
      • Figure 21: RTD alcoholic beverages featuring low ABV, 2021
    • White Claw fights the tide with higher ABV Surge
      • Figure 22: White Claw Hard Seltzer Surge Spiked Sparkling Water, 2021
    • Variety packs move beyond flavor
      • Figure 23: RTD alcoholic beverages featuring ABV variety packs, 2021
    • Tequila offerings hold the most appeal
      • Figure 24: RTD cocktail flavor interest, 2021
      • Figure 25: RTD alcoholic beverages featuring tequila, 2021
  8. Market Opportunities

    • The Finnish Long Drink success could usher gin boom
      • Figure 26: RTD alcoholic beverage launches featuring gin, 2021
    • Keep variety coming through format exploration
      • Figure 27: Top three flavored alcoholic beverage launches rated as “exciting,” 2020-21
    • Look to second-tier flavors of interest to stand apart from the crowd
      • Figure 28: Preferred alcoholic beverage flavors, 2021
      • Figure 29: Leading flavors among RTD alcoholic beverage launches, by segment, 2021
      • Figure 30: RTD alcoholic beverage launches featuring dessert and warm flavors, 2021
    • More direct low sugar positioning is in order
      • Figure 31: Leading claims among RTD alcoholic beverage launches, by segment, 2019-21
      • Figure 32: RTD alcoholic beverage launches featuring dessert and warm flavors, 2021
    • Look at RTDs as ready to deliver
      • Figure 33: Alcohol shopping methods in the past 12 months, by alcohol type purchased, 2021
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • RTDs continue their forward march, gaining new users every year
    • Beyond convenience, the category delivers on variety
    • Flavor drives 71% of RTD choices, room exists for improved perceptions
    • Health is a leading barrier to increased category participation
  10. RTD Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

    • Half of US adults aged 22+ drink RTDs, seltzers drive growth
      • Figure 34: RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, 2018-21
    • RTD drinkers are largely segment loyal
      • Figure 35: Repertoire of RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, 2021
      • Figure 36: RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, 2021
    • Category gains Gen Z buy-in, seltzers are the way in
      • Figure 37: RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by age, 2021
      • Figure 38: Change in RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by age, 2020-21
    • Women have a preference for premixed cocktails and wine-based drinks
      • Figure 39: RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by gender, 2021
      • Figure 40: Change in RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by gender, 2020-21
    • Young Hispanics are bailing on cloying alcopops
      • Figure 41: RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by Hispanic origin and age, 2021
      • Figure 42: Change in RTD alcoholic beverage consumption – Net – Any drink, by Hispanic origin and age, 2020-21
  11. Reasons for Drinking RTD Alcoholic Beverages

    • Variety helped the category and allowed diversification of home drinking
      • Figure 43: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, 2021
    • While RTDs have a flavor advantage, the category needs to up its taste game
      • Figure 44: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 45: Top three flavored alcoholic beverage launches rated as “tasty,” 2020-21
    • Women drawn to convenience, men value experience
      • Figure 46: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, by gender, 2021
    • One in five 22-34s select RTDs because of lower alcohol content
      • Figure 47: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, by age, 2021
      • Figure 48: Top three low alcohol flavored alcoholic beverage launches, 2020-21
    • Portability is key among seltzer drinkers
      • Figure 49: Reasons for drinking RTD alcoholic beverages, by RTD type, 2021
      • Figure 50: Top three flavored alcoholic beverage launches rated as “convenient,” 2020-21
  12. RTD Alcoholic Beverage Choice Factors

    • Flavor leads alcohol choice, advantage RTDs
      • Figure 51: Alcohol statements – Choice drivers, by RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, 2021
    • Favorite flavor leads choice within the RTD category
      • Figure 52: RTD alcoholic beverage choice factors, 2021
      • Figure 53: RTD alcoholic beverage choice factors, 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 54: Top three flavored alcoholic beverage launches rated as “natural,” 2020-21
    • Seltzer brand loyalty is low
      • Figure 55: Alcohol statements – Seltzer brands, 2021
    • Packaging design will go far in appealing to young Hispanics
      • Figure 56: RTD alcoholic beverage choice factors, by Hispanic origin and age, 2021
      • Figure 57: Flavored alcoholic beverage launches that score high for appealing packaging among Hispanic respondents, 2020-21
  13. Impact of COVID-19 on RTD Alcoholic Beverages Behavior

    • Alcoholic seltzers
    • One in 5 alcoholic seltzer drinkers started doing so during the pandemic
      • Figure 58: Impact of COVID-19 on alcoholic seltzer behavior, 2021
    • Seltzers edged in on beer for solo drinking among men
      • Figure 59: Impact of COVID-19 on alcoholic seltzer behavior, by gender, 2021
    • Premixed cocktails
    • One in 10 premixed cocktail drinkers did so for the first time during the pandemic
      • Figure 60: Impact of COVID-19 on premixed cocktail beverage behavior, 2021
    • Pandemic drove men to enter the segment, women to experiment within it
      • Figure 61: Impact of COVID-19 on premixed cocktail beverage behavior, by gender, 2021
    • Flavor kept younger drinkers engaged in the segment
      • Figure 62: Impact of COVID-19 on premixed cocktail beverage behavior, by age, 2021
  14. Attributes Associated with Alcoholic Seltzer Flavors

    • Fruit flavors are most popular, botanicals imply health/sophistication
    • Target occasions with varying flavor intensity
    • Cocktail-inspired flavors shine for celebration
      • Figure 63: Correspondence analysis of attributes associated with alcoholic seltzer flavors – Symmetrical map, 2021
      • Figure 64: Attributes associated with alcoholic seltzer flavors, 2021
  15. Barriers to RTD Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

    • Quality perceptions improve, but sugar continues to plague category
      • Figure 65: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, 2021
      • Figure 66: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, 2020-21
      • Figure 67: Top three flavored alcoholic beverage launches rated as “quality,” 2020-21
    • Quality improvements required to retain younger drinkers long term
      • Figure 68: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, by gender and age, 2021
    • One in 10 young Hispanics worry about judgment associated with RTDs
      • Figure 69: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, by Hispanic origin and age, 2021
    • A quarter of Black drinkers don’t see themselves in the category
      • Figure 70: Barriers to RTD alcoholic beverage consumption, by race, 2021
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Consumer survey data
    • Correspondence map methodology
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  17. Appendix – Companies and Brands

      • Figure 71: Multi-outlet sales of beer (inc FMBs), by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021
      • Figure 72: Multi-outlet sales of premixed cocktails/coolers, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2020 and 2021

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