Understanding consumer behaviour is one of the most important points a company needs to take care of. Following this idea NOVELTEA teamed up with the University of Geisenheim, Germany.
You find below a short summary of the study conducted during the last months:
The preferences of the potential consumers for the RTD products
Dr. Sophie Ghvanidze, Eva Carlitz
Globally seen, the RTD (Ready-to-drink) category is under rapid transformation, growing double digits during the pandemics across leading markets. It is projected that this category outpaces the growth of other alcoholic beverages in the next five years.
Dr. Sophie Ghvanidze and the International Wine Business students at Hochschule Geisenheim University based on Cold-Brewed Alcoholic Tea brand NOVELTEA conducted a study to better understand potential RTD consumers and their buying and consumption behaviours.
As an exploratory study, through qualitative interviews, this research aimed to identify the consumers' preferences and purchase behaviour towards RTDs. It investigated the motivation to buy, consumption occasions, and potential substitutes for RTDs with a particular focus on Cold-Brewed Alcoholic Tea.
Definition of RTDs
RTD is the abbreviation for the term Ready-To-Drink and describes beverages that are already premixed. They can contain wine, spirits, malt, and NO ABV beverages (Anderson et al., 2012) with an average alcohol level of 5-10 vol %. In Germany, the alcohol content is on the average app. 10% volume, which is higher compared to other countries. The category can be split into the following types:
FABs (Flavoured alcoholic beverages)
RTDs are mainly distributed through the off-trade channel. E-commerce has been growing over the last couple of years.
The previous studies identify that the RTD "success story" is driven by convenience, the desire to consume less alcohol, and to pursue a healthier lifestyle. The perception of consuming a fresh, authentic, sustainable drink with natural ingredients following the premiumisation trend are further factors, supporting the preferences for RTDs.
Embedding the category Alcoholic Tea in the overall RTD category
Coffee and tea have become considerably more prevalent in increasing alcoholic drinks as they provide natural vitality and are a healthier alternative to sugary carbonated soft drinks. These categories are trying to reach different possibilities as health and wellness trends weaken the appeal of many standard cocktails and encourage consumers to value "mindful drinking." (Barry, 2019) Alcoholic teas are versatile, ranging from boozy sweet teas to fancy little tea martinis. Leading alcoholic ingredients are gin, vodka, whisky and rum combined with (tea) flavours such as berries, lime, cucumber, peach, mint, coconut, mango, apricot, etc. (Graham, 2021)
Both – alcoholic teas and coffees are part of the premixed cocktail subcategory.
NOVELTEA blends cold-brewed teas with carefully selected spirits. Unlike other RTDs, NOVELTEA uses 10cl, 25cl and 70cl glass bottles with a cork closure and not the RTD dominated can format. The packaging, the production process, the sustainability focus, and the ingredients underline the premium character of the drink and brand.
The results of the study
Throughout Germany, 34 in-depth interviews were conducted. They fall into the age group ranging between 25 to 45 years with higher income and higher education levels. They were interested in culinary experience, music, sports, socialising, traveling, and opening to try out new products. The interviewees were interested in alcoholic beverages consuming alcohol frequently when socialising with friends and family.
Consumption behaviour for RTDs
Although not knowing the term RTD, most interviewees had drunk them before with a consumption frequency differing between less than six times a year to weekly. Seasonality is significant for consuming RTDs, increasing during the summer, including outdoor gatherings such as BBQs, festivals, or After Work on the go consumption.
The majority of the interviewees had a good experience with consuming RTDs and considered repurchasing them.
Motives to consume RTDs were the taste, refreshing themselves, exploring a new product or sharing experiences on new products with friends, convenience (premixed, packaging/transportation, fastness purchasing, chilled), or staying awake (consuming an energy drink mixed with vodka). The most popular style mentioned was whisky and cola.
Substitutes of RTDs
The substitutes for RTDs ranged from alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to desserts/sweets and cigarettes concerning consumption situation. Alcoholic drinks mentioned were beer, cocktails and wine. Non-alcoholic ones mentioned were sodas and juices as well as tea-based drinks.
Extrinsic characteristics were assessed positively and created positive attitudes before tasting the sample. The extrinsic features of the product, especially the bottle shape and material, the label and brand were associated with whisky. Higher ABV and barrel-aging were also considered luxurious. This perception resulted in consumption occasions that were slightly different from regular RTD. The social gatherings at home to celebrate and discover a new type of drinks and talk about them and Afternoon Teas or date nights were mentioned as main occasions to drink NOVELTEA.
Interestingly, almost all interviewees named gifting occasions (Christmas, Mother's/Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.) previously mentioned what hasn't been considered buying motivation for RTDs.
The preferred bottle size differed depending on the occasion: the 25cl bottle was preferred for on-the-go/outdoor occasions, but a 70cl bottle was selected for at-home consumption as a more suitable size to share with friends.
Although previously, the majority of the interviewees linked the summer season to the consumption of RTDs. Referring to the NOVELTEA, interviewees mentioned both: summery and wintery (Christmas) occasions. Accordingly, besides drinking chilled, they were also imagining consuming NOVELTEA warmed.
"NOVELTEA is something between beer and wine, a new drink to celebrate a special day," was claimed by one respondent.
RTDs are a growing trend. New product innovations have been launched recently with an increasing interest in tea and alcohol blends. RTD consumers follow a particular behaviour that is willing to experiment, learn new things, track trends, have a social desire for a specific image/lifestyle, and are convenience seekers.
Consumption occasions are essential and could be connected to social gatherings – at home or outdoor. NOVELTEA's extrinsic characteristics resulted in its "gifting perception different to FABs or Long Drinks."
Last but not least, the age group interviewed reflected part of the FABs and Long Drink core consumer group (as they are younger) and focused on the NOVELTEA core consumer age group.
Barry, M. (2019) Alcoholic Drinks and Non-Alcoholic Drinks: Blurring Boundaries.
Euromonitor. Available from: [Accessed 06/07/2021]. (Anderson et al., 2012)
Anderson, P., Suhrcke, M. and Brookes, C. (2010) An overview of the market for alcoholic beverages of potentially particular appeal to minors. Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/default/ files/alcohol/docs/alcohol_alcoholic_beverages_appeal_minors_en.pdf. [Accessed 07/07/2021].
Graham, C. [The spruce eats] (2021): 16 Refreshing and Impressive Iced Tea Cocktails,