Fintech and NBWA partnered to compare Google Trends and Fintech InfoSource™ volume for seltzer over the last few years.
Where will seltzer trend this holiday season?
At this point, it’s officially safe to proclaim 2019 as the year of seltzer. What many thought of as just a summer trend has transformed into a lifestyle. Though the category will undoubtedly go through typical ebbs and flows, seltzer has settled nicely into the fabric of our drinking habits with no signs of unraveling anytime soon.
Visit any bar and you’ll find more toasts made with skinny white cans than shots of liquor or the previous king, light beer. So, what’s with the spiked seltzer craze, and how is it tied to other societal trends? And where will it all head over the holiday season?
What’s driving the trends in sales?
We should start by saying that while we don’t think there is one single cause for the hype surrounding seltzer, we do believe there is one heavy influencer – the internet.
Fintech and NBWA partnered to compare Google Trends and Fintech InfoSource™ volume for seltzer over the last few years. From this data, it’s obvious to see that while internet searches don’t cause a spike in seltzer sales, the two are very clearly connected. When searches for seltzer first started to register on Google in 2016, case volume wasn’t far behind. Then again, when searches dipped low towards the end of 2017, supply dipped again. The searches and case volumes reached their highest peaks early in the summer of 2019 when a certain campaign video hit YouTube, “Aint no laws when you’re drinking Claws baby!”.
While, of course, that phrase isn’t true and we all support the laws related to the responsible consumption of alcohol, we can see the impact internet trends have on supply and demand. Hard seltzer case volumes skyrocketed shortly after this video was released, and skinny cans started popping up all over social media. The Instagrammable beverage appeared at every single backyard barbeque, beach party, bridal shower, and birthday party. Along with the summer holidays we witnessed the addition of seltzer taking over tap real estate at many bars and restaurants across the country as the seltzer craze continued to escalate. Demand grew so much that distributors experienced shortages across the country.
But this parallel isn’t one way – the conversation of correlation between internet searches and seltzer sales may be an authentic chicken or the egg question. Did the popularity of the drink during Memorial Day fuel the video’s creation? Which then caused an increase in visibility through social media and thus more sales for the rest of the summer? Furthermore, how will the busy holiday season reflect both search trends and hard seltzer case volume?
Holiday seltzer shakedown
So here we stand on the precipice of the holiday season, wondering how well seltzers will stack up against the more traditional beverages of the holiday season. While we doubt that anyone’s replacing pinot noir or Veuve Clicquot with a cooler full of White Claws, exposure may leave more consumers curious about the beverage – once again increasing both case volume and Google Trends.
Millennials and Gen-Zers are already aware of the appeal of seltzer, and they’re ready to share with the rest of their social circle. It’s fun to witness Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers together sipping Bon & Viv, finding common ground and only disagreeing on what brand is best.
Will this same phenomenon continue? Will seltzer searches and case volume sales take another turn upwards for the holidays, or will we be left waiting for another summer of seltzer in 2020?
Only time and InfoSource data will tell. Stay tuned!