can lids

RTD growth led by cocktails and long drinks

07 October, 2022

The IWSR Drinks Market Analysis has released results for its 2022 Strategic Study examining and forecasting growth in the ready-to-drink (RTD) category.

With a focus across 10 markets, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, UK, and the US, which together represent more than 85% of all RTD volumes worldwide, RTD category volumes across these markets will grow by 24% over the next five years.

Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, said: “Consumers in the US have grown accustomed to the convenience and variety offered by RTDs, which has increasingly led to people trading up to spirit-based cocktails.” 

Consumer demand for premium RTD products will drive the category forward, with value growth outpacing volume growth at 8% vs 5% CAGR 2022–26.

The US continues to lead with the largest volumes and percentage growth, though this is expected to temper, as momentum for hard seltzers (which make up 60% of the RTD segment in the US) has begun to cool in the market. 

Across all markets tracked in the study, spirit-based RTDs, especially those made with vodka, held 45% category volume share in 2021 and are driving innovation. 

Cocktails and long drinks are forecasted to create the most growth in RTDs globally, with volumes expected to overtake hard seltzers in 2025. In the 10 focus markets, cocktails and long drinks are forecasted to take about 26% of the total RTD category by 2026, compared to 20% for hard seltzers. 

IWSR’s study shows consumers are continuing to drink RTDs both instead of and alongside traditional alcohol categories. Beer is cited as the most commonly replaced drink, as well as the drink most likely to be consumed with RTDs on the same occasion. 

Taste is also the leading factor in why consumers are choosing RTDs, with packaging attributes such as portability and single-serve sizing growing compared to previous years.

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