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US drinkers to buy more RTDs in 2022

A survey by on-demand delivery platform Drizly revealed US consumers are planning to purchase more ready-to-drink cocktails this year, led by Tequila-based offerings.

RTDs Drizly
Drizly said the growth in RTD cocktails could lead to a decline in home mixology

Drizly released its fourth annual Consumer Trend Report, based on a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults conducted during April 2022.

The report, which looked at what Americans are poised to drink this summer and throughout 2022, is supplemented by sales data from the Drizly platform.

“This year’s survey, along with purchase patterns we’re seeing on Drizly, sheds light on a rapidly evolving American adult beverage consumer and on Gen Z’s growing influence,” said Cathy Lewenberg, chief operating officer at Drizly.

“The youngest buying cohort’s willingness to purchase premium products, and their embrace of ideas like non-alcoholic alternatives, could have far-reaching implications for what, how and when we’ll choose to enjoy alcohol in the coming years.

“And overall, we saw consumer preferences indicating that the rising popularity of ready-to-drink cocktails isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and Tequila’s growth spurt will only continue in 2022 as spirits’ appeal expands even further with shoppers.”

Home mixology downturn

Drizly said that the rise of ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails could lead to a decline in home cocktail making, a pandemic-induced trend that became prevalent in 2020.

RTD cocktails ranked as the top alcoholic drink respondents anticipate buying more of this year. Furthermore, 73% of respondents said they would most likely enjoy RTDs at home.

In addition, more than one third said they are making less cocktails since they started drinking RTDs.

Last year saw a 170% increase in the number of RTD brands available on Drizly, compared to 2019. RTD cocktails took 4% of overall alcohol sales on Drizly in 2021, up from less than 1% in 2019.

At 43%, Tequila-based RTD cocktails ranked as the top new drink that Americans want to try most.

It was followed by hard ice tea (35%), CBD or cannabis-infused drinks (25%) and orange wine (19%). Japanese spirit soju sat at 11% while non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ were selected by 9% of respondents.

Two thirds (70%) of Gen Z respondents, along with 56% of millennials, picked Tequila as their preferred spirit base when buying RTD cocktails.

On Drizly’s platform, Margaritas have been the top-selling type of RTD cocktail over the past five years, with 20% share of overall RTD category sales.

Meanwhile, Drizly also asked which canned drinks consumers will buy more of this year, with RTDs taking the top spot at 22%, followed by hard seltzers (21%). Drizly said this suggests that RTDs may be taking share from hard seltzers.

From 2018 to 2020, the hard seltzer category experienced a 278% growth in share (3.4% share on Drizly in 2020).

Furthermore, 17% of adults said they’ll buy more Tequila this year than in 2021, just 1% behind vodka which sits in the top spot. Tequila is seven percentage points higher than American whiskey, a ‘long-time leader’ in spirits, Drizly said.

Tequila has also increased its share of alcohol sales on Drizly’s platform by 5% over the past three years, while vodka’s share has dropped by 8% over the same period.

Drizly’s recent Retail Report noted that 80% of retailers said they plan to stock more Tequila in 2022 – 40 points ahead of vodka.

Non-alcoholic potential

Drizly also noted that Gen Z (38% of respondents) and millennials (25%) are considerably ahead of Gen X (15%) and boomers (8%) in their views of substituting some traditional drinks with non-alcoholic alternatives.

Nearly half of respondents (44%) said this was due to a healthier lifestyle, while 33% attributed the choice to these products being low in calories or sugar.

Men (49%) overtook women (36%) in citing health as their main reason for opting for booze-free options.

In 2021, Drizly recorded a 166% increase in the number of non-alcoholic products available on its platform, compared to 2019.

On Drizly, non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ share of sales soared by more than 600% in 2021, followed by zero-ABV wine (300%) and booze-free beer (200%).

Non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ held a 0.02% share of total sales last year on Drizly, up from a 0.005% share in 2020.

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