The ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage category is set to grow by 12% in volume terms between 2022 and 2027, hitting a value of $40 billion (€37.3 billion) in ten key markets, a study by IWSR Drinks Market Analysis has found.
The findings were revealed in the IWSR RTDs Strategic Study 2023, which analysed trends in 10 key markets, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, the UK and the US, which together account for 83% of global RTD consumption.
RTD sales in these markets totalled $33.9 billion (€31.6 billion) in 2022.
“Growth is slowing in an increasingly mature global RTD category, but opportunities persist in the cocktails/long drinks space and for premium-plus products that prioritise consumer- forward cues such as RTD base, ABV and flavour,” commented Susie Goldspink, head of RTD insights, IWSR.
The pace of innovation in the RTD category has slowed from its 2021 peak, the study found, with some 1,000 new products launched in the first half of 2023. Across 2021 as a whole, more than 3,000 products were launched.
Innovation is focusing more on premium products, with an increased focus on ingredients and added functionality, Goldspink added.
These are "all aspects that offer a point of differentiation to consumers,” she said. “Although the pace of innovation has slowed, the effectiveness of new launches has improved, as producers are more strategic and targeted in their product launches.”
The global RTD category remains somewhat fragmented, with certain product types tending to dominate individual countries – hard seltzers in the US, cocktails/long drinks in Australia, Mexico and Germany, and FABs in Brazil, Japan, China and South Africa.