RTDs and premium Tequila to keep booming

E-commerce platform Drizly has spotlighted trends to watch in the new year based on its previous-year sales and consumer responses.

Trends like ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, no- and low-alcohol alternatives, and premium Tequila aren’t showing any signs of slowing down in 2024. Drizly and BevAlc Insights recently published their 2024 trends to watch, with previous-year data and responses from 1,000 drinking-age adults showing sustained growth in these categories.

Consumers remain open to new RTD cocktails, with 34% saying they plan to buy RTDs in the coming year, up from 32% last year, with a majority interested in new brands. The number of RTD cocktail producers on Drizly increased 47% in the past year to more than 1,000.

RTDs accounted for 3% of total Drizly sales in 2023, surpassing hard seltzer, which accounted for 2%.

Liz Paquette, the head of consumer insights at Drizly, pointed to the recent cocktail boom and the diversity of options for boosting sales. “Many consumers also reached for RTDs because the category offered more ingredient transparency than competing categories like hard seltzer,” she said.

Top factors drawing customers to RTDs include: a cocktail they love (59%), a cocktail they’re curious to try (58%), a recommendation from friends or family (48%), price point (46%) and it’s made from a spirits company that they are familiar with, like Jack Daniel’s or Jose Cuervo (45%).

Drizly also predicts premium Tequila to continue to capture consumer attention in 2024. Among those surveyed, 19% said they anticipate spending $200 or more on a bottle. In 2023, bottles priced at $100 or more accounted for 26% of Tequila sales on Drizly and, while the category as a whole sat at 19% of liquor sales from 2022 to 2023, reposado Tequila gained share over blanco. 

“We believe the trend of sipping Tequila versus using it as a cocktail ingredient is one of the key drivers of this trend, as more premium products are typically associated with this use case,” says Paquette. “Increased consumer knowledge of the category, as well as its role as a gift, has also contributed to the trend.”

The most popular Tequila price point was $25 to $49, with 26% planning to spend in that tier, and 74% planning to mix the spirit into cocktails.

Drizly likewise charts the continued rise of non-alcoholic drinks in the new year, noting a 62% growth in the category in 2023. Of those surveyed, 63% said they have tried or intend to try alcohol-free beverages in 2024, and 57% of those who anticipate drinking these products expect to do so at home.

“This coincides with the soaring growth we have seen in the non-alcoholic spirits category in particular in the past year,” Paquette says. “Share is up 167% in 2023 to date compared to 2022, making it among the fastest-growing subcategories on the platform.”

In addition to these trends, Drizly predicts inflation’s impact on spending habits softening. Of those surveyed, 40% said they do not plan to change their drinks-buying habits in 2024 due to inflation, up from 35% the previous year. Meanwhile, 19% anticipated buying less alcohol due to inflation, down from 28% the year before.

Earlier this week we published our predictions for spirits trends for 2024. Last month we published our World Spirits Reports on RTDs and Tequila and named our brands to watch this year.

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Author: Ted Simmons