Ready To Drink Cocktails Are Receiving Massive Demand As Consumers Want More Convenience
Pre-mixed/RTD alcoholic drinks have been globally considered as an ideal substitute to traditional or hard liquors

Canned cocktails are still one of the most popular types of alcoholic beverages, and their rapid expansion shows no signs of slowing down. From April 2019 to April 2020, the overall category of ready-to-drinks increased by roughly 80%, ranging from malt-based flavoured drinks to hard seltzers to canned cocktails created with spirits. Cocktails that are ready to drink, in particular, are attracting consumer attention and generating interest in the sector. In recent years, the category of RTDs has seen steady growth, but in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the trend for RTD cocktails has quickened, with sales soaring rapidly since consumers are unable to visit bars and restaurants.

Better-For-You Cocktails

While the RTD category began as an on-the-go solution, the bulk of purchasers are now using them as simple in-home solutions to unwind and relax. Ready to drink cocktails are the fastest growing segment. RTDs have come a long way since they were first introduced. Most RTDs used to be sugary, syrupy concoctions with plenty of chemical flavourings. RTDs first became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, providing customers with approachable – but sometimes heavily sweetened – flavours to replace traditional spirits and mixers. Advertising concentrated on cheeky, 'lad' themed advertisements, which were marketed as suited for up-tempo nights out.

However, since their resurgence, they've been marketed as better-for-you, craft, extremely premium, and with a sophisticated range of flavour characteristics. Consumers today still value convenience, but they want cleaner goods that allow them to have a few drinks without feeling like they're making too many health and fitness sacrifices.

A widespread desire to find better-for-you options is driving much of the RTD trend. In terms of alcoholic beverages, this translates to lower-calorie, lower-ABV consumption. Consumers are searching for convenience as well, and canned beverages are really convenient. RTD cocktail market players are creating low-calorie and low-sugar formats with an emphasis on high-quality ingredients as consumers seek healthier versions of items across decadent categories from desserts to snacks.

Though canned drinks are a newer fad in the United States, they are a popular way to enjoy cocktails in other countries. This is how most people drink cocktails in various parts of the world. The United States is only now catching up to Western Europe and Asia, which already have a sizable ready-to-drink market.

The ready-to-drink cocktail market was hot before the pandemic, and it speaks to a demand that people are having throughout the crisis. According to Reports and Data, global ready to drink cocktails market size was USD 728.53 million in 2020 and is expected to register a CAGR of 12.1% during the forecast period. Even when things return to normal, the popularity of ready-to-drink cocktails is predicted to persist.

Not Just Cocktails

The ready-to-drink category, though, isn't simply for cocktails. In reality, sales of all types of alcoholic beverages are increasing thanks to the ready-to-drink market, with the burgeoning malt-based cocktail segment leading the way.

Spirit and wine-based "ready-to-drink cocktails" come in smaller containers, are more established, and generate higher sales. While sales of spirit and wine-based ready-to-drink cocktails aren't as high as those of malt-based cocktails, they are nonetheless increasing rapidly.

Brands experimenting with new and unusual flavours that haven't previously been available outside of the bar are also driving ready-to-drink growth. For hard seltzers, for example, the most popular taste is "assorted," indicating that a big majority of consumers want flavour variety.

Cans Lead The Way

The ready-to-drink trend, in particular, has extended the scope of how alcoholic beverages have historically been confined. Cans, cartons, and Tetra Paks, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular as containers for ready-to-drink adult beverages. Cans in particular are doing exceptionally well.

Cans now account for slightly over 36% of craft beer sales. Single-serve, ready-to-drink cocktails are tapping into an easy way to satisfy consumers while they're resting, unwinding, hitting the beach, cooking outside, and many other instances when they're away from their favourite bar or restaurant, or when they're outside of their home.

Younger folks are opting for ready-to-drink cocktails at social gatherings and outdoor activities across generations. Outdoor picnics, the beach/pool, and while traveling/on vacation are all favourite ready-to-drink events as summer approaches. Consumers want convenience, and ready-to-drink cocktails provide them that. Previously, they had to be in a bar or restaurant to enjoy something like this. These newest alcohol categories are giving potential for growth within the broader alcohol category in a variety of ways:

·       Brands are being introduced to the market by new entrepreneurial businesses.

·       Existing businesses are acquiring new brands (s)

·   To become a "power" brand, existing brands in single alcohol segments are extending their name recognition into fresh segments.

The constant thread for success, however, is separating out from the throng and satisfying evolving consumer needs.