The seltzer opportunity

There’s nothing worse than the feeling like you’ve missed out. With the seltzer category soaring, retailers will want to make sure they get in on the act.

Well-established in the U.S, where the category garnered $4bn in sales in 2020,[1] seltzers are making waves this side of the Atlantic too. The alcoholic sparkling beverage hit £5.8m in sales last year, as retailers began to wake up to the opportunity the growing category brings.[2] Demonstrating the growth potential over the coming years, this sales figure is forecast to rise to £600m by 2025, putting it on par with the ready-to-drink category.[3]

This growth of the seltzer category is in large part owed to rising demand, particularly among millennials, for drinks products that suit a more balanced lifestyle. So how do retailers ensure they can tap into this increasingly lucrative market?

Bud Light Seltzer launches in the UK

Last week Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I announced the UK launch of Bud Light Seltzer in the Off-Trade, following on from the brand’s success in the U.S, where it became the number three brand by market share within the first month of launch. Enabling retail customers to meet this growing demand for seltzers head-on, it demonstrates our commitment to diversify beyond beer in order to cater to the spectrum of consumer drink preferences.

Carrying the popularity and recognition of parent brand Bud Light behind it, which has an awareness of 90% in the UK.[4] Bud Light Seltzer’s range of  flavours makes it the perfect millennial drink. Containing 95 calories per can and 4% ABV, it appeals to those looking for lighter, naturally flavoured options– and reflects the popularity of the parent brand among millennial drinkers, as the under 35s are drawn towards easy-to-drink formats.[5]

As a refreshing carbonated drink, seltzers also cater to increased consumer demand for sparkling alcoholic beverages, with 30% of consumers now actively choosing sparkling alcoholic drinks.[6]

The summer of seltzer

In time for the lifting of national lockdown restrictions, Bud Light Seltzer’s launch also coincides with the beginning of warmer months. It’s not hard to see why a light and refreshing drink, with a range of fruity flavours, in an easy-to-drink format would be more popular among consumers in the summer – and the data backs this up. In July and August last year, seltzers saw a 36% uplift in sales,[7] highlighting the strong correlation, as retailers were able to capitalise on the seasonal sales drivers such as BBQs and picnics.

This summer also features the unique selling opportunity provided by the return of international football to our screens. Named as the first ever official Hard Seltzer sponsor of the Men’s England football team, retailers stocking Bud Light Seltzer are set to benefit from this key brand association during the Euros. 55% of shoppers are more likely to opt for ‘official sponsor’ brands over their usual beer choices, which represents a unique growth opportunity for Bud Light Seltzer.

Looking at broader consumer trends, we expect the buzz around the easing of restrictions around both indoor and outdoor socialising to translate to increased sales. The expected uplift in outdoor socialising particularly, such as picnics, garden parties, and park meet-ups will drive at-home consumption. Last year we saw unprecedented growth in the beer category across the Off-Trade as consumers had to spend more time at home. Now, as people ready themselves to host or attend social gatherings at home once more, the seltzer category is well positioned to benefit from this trend.

How can retailers maximise the opportunity?

Acquainting consumers with the seltzer category by creating visibility at shelf and out of shelf will be key for retailers to ride this trend. To further encourage trial and repeat purchase, retailers should be sure to stock multiple flavours from the Bud Light Seltzer range to ensure they meet the spectrum of consumer preference.

Want to make sure you don’t miss out? Contact your sales rep today and stock up on Bud Light Seltzer.

[1] RI Total US sales

[2] Nielsen Scantrack December 2020

[3] Nielsen data from 2019/10-2020/08

[4] Kantar Brand Guidance MAT Feb 2021

[5] Kantar 52 WE April 20

[6] CGA Mixed Drinks Q1 2020

[7] Nielsen Scantrack December 2020

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