YOUNG people want excitement and are naturally inclined to seek out the new and unusual wherever they can find it, so the theory goes.
It certainly often looks that way with alcohol preferences. New products often seem to prove popular with young adult consumers. It can be hard to keep up.
“It must be kept fresh and interesting to the young adult market as they are constantly on the lookout for new taste and flavour experiences,” said Emma Heath, marketing controller at Sourz, whose own portfolio now has six permanent flavours – Apple, Mango, Raspberry, Cherry, Tropical and a new taste to try, Toffee Apple.
With the approach of the winter party season, what should retailers be aware of to make the most of the category?
“We’ve found that young adults are much more inclined to try drinks where there is a drinking ritual or shared experience with friends, and it is important for retailers to understand this,” she said.
For example, a convenience retailer who knows the ‘Cheesecake’ is a popular new shot-tail with young adults might think to stock its ingredients – Sourz and Bols Yoghurt – together where they’ll be easily seen.
There has also been growth in premium flavoured spirits which can be served straight.
“Social media is extremely important to young adults, so stocking brands that get support via social media is vital.”
Emma Heath, marketing controller at Sourz
“Over the past few years, there has been a shift in consumer drinking patterns across all age groups, including young adults,” said Heath. “There is an emerging trend across all groups that drinkers are staying at home later with their straight serve drinks such as Sourz and sharing a round of drinks with friends before heading out to a bar or club. This has impacted on sales. The straight serve category in the off-trade is growing fast and has huge development potential.
“For the off-trade to continue this growth, convenience stores need to refresh their ranges to ensure their merchandising engages customers to drive rate of sale.”
But with so many brands and flavours to choose from – and not a lot of shelf space – how are retailers to know what to stock?
The answer could be found online, where young adults are increasingly likely to build relationships with their preferred brands, Heath argues. Retailers who make the effort to find out what young adults are saying and doing online will find it much easier to keep up with market trends.
Sourz, with over 552k Facebook fans and 2,123 Twitter followers, is just one example of a brand using social media to engage with its target audience.
“Social media is extremely important to young adults, so stocking brands that get support via social media, as well as PR and advertising, is vital,” said Heath.
“Young adults live online, using it as a constant source of reference, so this is more important than ever.”