How We’d Solve It: Seltzers vs. Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

by | Oct 3, 2021


Hard seltzers and ready-to-drink cocktails have grown in popularity quickly over the past couple of years. That growth trajectory is expected to continue over the next five years.

Data from market research firm Grand View Research projects that sales of ready-to-drink cocktails will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1% through 2027, while sales of hard seltzers will have a CAGR of 16.2%. That’s far higher than the projected CAGR of the wine market during that same time span (6.4%).

In today’s edition of our How We’d Solve It series, we discuss how Premise Contributors can help beverage manufacturers stand out with their ready-to-drink cocktail and hard seltzer offerings with Gen Z.

The Situation
Ready-to-drink cocktails have flooded the market this summer and are rapidly gaining in popularity. 

Who is propelling the market forward? Younger consumers, notably Millennials and Gen Z, who base their alcoholic drinks preferences on portability, convenience, and taste. 

Inspired by the success of seltzers, canned cocktail producers are looking to tap into the same demographic market that have allowed seltzers to develop into a multi-million dollar industry. 

However, there are distinct differences between the two drink types. The most notable one is in alcohol by volume (ABV). Seltzers generally come in around the 5% mark, while canned cocktails range from 6% to 10%. 

Given that Millennials and Gen Z consume less alcohol than older generations, how does that impact the positioning of new ready-to-drink cocktails? Moreover, with greater emphasis on premium ingredients, unique flavors, and intricately designed containers compared to seltzers, what can entrants to this increasingly crowded field do to stand out? 

How We Would Solve It

Premise can task its app users to visit particular locations or stores to gain a near-real time understanding of what stands out to consumers in the alcoholic beverage aisle.

Here is the way Premise could do that:

  • Create a Premise task targeted towards users who fall into the Millennial and Gen Z age groups
  • Task several different users within this age group to travel to a specific store with a large selection of seltzers and ready-to-drink cocktails
  • Ask the Contributors to take photos of the seltzer and ready-to-drink cocktail sections
  • Require users to take a photo of their favorite product on the shelf as well as the promotional material that stands out the most
  • Follow up with several qualitative and quantitative surveys on perceptions of the seltzer and ready-to-drink cocktail brands and sections, such as the number of products or brands available and their respective shelf space and positioning
    Potential Outcomes
  • Gathering in the moment photos as well as qualitative and quantitative observations allow brands and market researchers to gather real-time feedback on their products in their natural environments. 
  • Understanding attitudes and preferences at the moment when consumers are presented with choices will generate more insightful data on consumers’ true thoughts and feelings compared with traditional surveys. 
  • Pairing such sentiment directly with product displays and surrounding promotional materials will lend insight into how different in-store presentations affect consumers at the point of purchase.
  • These insights can drive anything from adjustments to existing products to helping brands determine which markets might be ripe for new product lines. 

Moreover, since all Contributors were asked to go to the same store, we are able to construct a holistic picture of what stands out to different types of consumers. 

  • Beyond just age, we would be able to discern preferences and answers based on socioeconomic and other salient factors. 
  • We’d be able to provide this level of granularity since all Premise users are asked to fill out a robust demographic questionnaire upon downloading the app.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with us today to learn more about how Premise can provide you with Data for Every Decision™.