On-trade sales account for a significant share of total volume sales of RTDs in New Zealand with these drinks often associated with socialising with friends. As such, the lockdown and social distancing measures took a heavy toll on the overall performance of the category in 2020.
RTDs suffered from negative perceptions over the review period, with these products often perceived to be artificial and packed with sugar. Nevertheless, one of hallmarks of RTDs in New Zealand remains strong innovation, with major players like Independent Liquor and Lion - Beer, Wine & Spirits (NZ) launching new products with natural ingredients and low calorie variants towards the end of the review period to address these concerns.
As New Zealanders have become more aware that the traditional RTDs such as Kristov Vodka Cruiser and Smirnoff Ice are high in sugar and in calories, this has pushed the leading brands to come up with low-sugar, low-calorie and premium RTDs. However, it has also influenced the competitive landscape with one of the more popular brands being domestic brand Pals, which was only launched in 2019.
RTDs is projected to bounce back strongly in 2021 and 2022 with sales expected to benefit from the easing of restrictions and improved consumer confidence. Other key factors behind the anticipated strong performance of RTDs is the growing range of options that cater to more health conscious consumers, such as sugar-free and lower alcohol options.
In terms of packaging, there is expected to be plenty of innovation within RTDs over the forecast period. With an increasing number of brands entering the category, players will likely move away from the traditional can and transparent glass bottle formats as they look for ways to stand out on retailers’ shelves.
As in similar markets like Australia, the most popular flavours in New Zealand include lemon, lime, and tropical fruits such as mango, passionfruit and pineapple. However, blackberry and watermelon flavours are also receiving growing attention, with these flavours being well received in Australia where the market for RTDs is slightly more developed than in New Zealand.
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This report originates from Passport, our RTDs research and analysis database.
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