RTDs was the worst hit category in alcoholic drinks in 2020, due to both impacts from the event of COVID-19 and an overall lack of investment, advertising and promotion. Furthermore, RTDs has limited distribution to the leading international chains in modern off-trade grocery retailers, with a tradition of being a more on-trade drink due to association with parties and entertainment.
RTDs in Romania consists of wine-based RTDs and spirit-based RTDs, with spirits-based RTDs being the largest category in size. Wine-based RTDs, although performing the best in 2020, has historically been in decline.
BDG Import SRL maintained its lead in RTDs in 2020, thanks to the success of its imported top Bacardi Breezer brand, reflecting a greater shelf presence compared to rival Smirnoff Ice from Diageo Balkans. While vodka is much more popular than rum among Romanian consumers, differences in consumption patterns exist between the two drinks.
The impacts from COVID-19, regarding on-trade closures, plus the lack of visibility in off-trade channels, are expected to continue to place downwards pressure on RTDs in 2021. The cocktail culture is developing in Romania, but within this many consumers prefer to mix their own drinks to their own personal tastes, instead of purchasing them RTD.
While wine-based RTDs is not expected to develop beyond Sangría, the reopening of on-trade channels will show competition to similar loose wine products to a degree. Spirit-based RTDs will be also affected by on-trade drinks with strong popularity and traditions, such as Cuba Libre (rum and cola), whisky and cola, and gin and tonic water.
Home-made combinations of spirits and soft drinks purchased from off-trade will maintain their popularity throughout 2021 and beyond, affecting sales of bottled RTDs. Accordingly, total volume is not expected to recover swiftly after the reduction and even elimination of restrictions due to COVID-19.
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This report originates from Passport, our RTDs research and analysis database.
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