Total volume growth of RTDs declined in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and government regulations that closed clubs and bars across the country. Furthermore, consumers ongoing cautious behaviour around socialising in public, along with extended lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules during the year, impacted the overall RTDs sales and volume growth for the rest of 2020.
Off-trade volume sales of RTDs experienced positive growth in 2020, driven by spirit-based RTDs. However, off-trade volume sales of wine-based RTDs continued to decline in 2020, facing strong competition from wine, which is easily available at grocery outlets across Ireland.
WKD from Barry & Fitzwilliam is the leading brand in RTDs in 2020, leveraging its established positioning in spirit-based RTDs to cater to consumers demand for pre-mixed flavoured alcoholic drinks. In addition to innovation and brand investment, WKD share growth was also driven by frequency innovation and a wide range of offerings, with consumers looking to enhance their drinking experiences during the challenging lockdown periods.
Extended lockdown measures in early 2021 are set to impact the on-trade sales of RTDs while also increasing consumers concerns about socialising in public. In addition to ongoing concern surrounding COVID-19 and extended lockdown measures, smaller bars and clubs are being hit hard by the outbreak, with social distancing requirements and guest restriction in facilities.
Following the uplift in growth in 2020, off-trade volume growth is predicted to decline in 2021, as prices will increase, and consumers will make changes to their budgets accordingly – especially in light of the economic recession. Competition from on-trade venues will also damage home consumption.
As the majority of RTD volume sales are usually generated from off-trade rather than on-trade, volume sales also benefited from the increased online ordering during 2020, with consumers having turned to the online channel to access home deliveries during the COVID-19 lockdown. Therefore, as many consumers have become accustomed to the ease and convenience of the e-commerce retailing channel, there is an opportunity for continued growth across the forecast period.
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