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The top hard seltzer trends now

A new study has revealed the hard seltzer trends driving US consumers’ interest in the category, with the thirst for CBD-infused products leading the way.

Best-selling RTDs
CBD, high alcohol, vitamin infusions, low alcohol: which hard seltzer variations excite drinkers most?

The number of hard seltzers on the market continues to skyrocket, even as questions arise about the longevity of the category. But with so much choice, how do consumers decide which products to buy?

To determine the trends leading purchasing decisions, behavioural insights platform Veylinx conducted a study of 2,702 US consumers of legal drinking age between July and August 2021, monitoring their preferences around eight major hard seltzer players: Arizona Sun Rise, Bon Viv, Bud Light, Corona, Smirnoff, Topo Chico, Truly and White Claw.

Veylinx analysed the demand for eight different ‘added benefits’ that brands could potentially use to market their products: high alcohol, low alcohol, CBD, vitamins, energy, immunity, sustainable packaging and kombucha.

Participants in the study demonstrated their willingness to pay for each brand, with and without added benefits, by placing sealed bids on each one and providing detailed answers about their choices.

The hottest hard seltzer trends

CBD proved the most appealing added benefit to consumers, increasing average demand by 12% across all brands in the study. High alcohol was next, boosting interest by 3%; sustainability provided a 2% increase in demand; and energy, 1%.

Of less interest were immunity, low alcohol and vitamins, which all lowered demand by 1%; and kombucha, which diminished demand by 6%.

Veylinx also determined which added benefit was most popular for each brand. White Claw was the only hard seltzer for which its flagship product, with no added benefits, scored the highest among consumers.

Meanwhile, sustainable packaging piqued the most consumer interest in Corona and Smirnoff; Bud Light, Arizona Sun Rise, Truly and Topo Chico all got the biggest boost from CBD; and demand for Bon Viv was highest with the added benefit of high alcohol.

The study also measured consumers’ hard seltzer purchasing habits over the past six months. White Claw, the world’s biggest-selling RTD, was the most popular, purchased by 21% of consumers; Truly claimed 17%; Bud Light and Smirnoff tied at 13%; 8% of consumers bought Corona, followed by Arizona Sun Rise and Topo Chico, both at 3%, and Bon Viv (2%).

Veylinx’s data focused on the US market. To learn more about hard seltzer’s potential to boom outside the States, read our investigation of the category’s international growth.

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