Feelings of time scarcity are high for consumers around the world. Fuelled by growing urbanisation, consumers are spending more time on the move as a result of longer working hours, daily commutes, family responsibilities and active social lives, which make it difficult to regularly enjoy beverage products at home.

Under pressure to keep up with the demands of increasingly hectic schedules, busy drinkers, particularly young adults, are forced to rely more on fast, on-the-go products to alleviate time scarcity. Consequently, demand has increased for portable and convenient drinks products that can fill them up or provide vital energy boosts throughout the day so that they can perform more efficiently.

In a new report from GlobalData, ‘TrendSights Analysis: On-The-Go’, associate analyst Jonathan Khosravani explores how brands can use the changing landscape of consumer lifestyles to target emerging consumption occasions. Catering to consumers’ increasingly hectic lives with time-saving, convenient and portable products that suit their active, on-the-go lifestyles can help brands to differentiate products from at-home offerings.

Reformulating and repositioning offerings to include functional or energy boosting attributes also allows brands to address complementary trends, such as the desire for ‘snackified’ beverages that blur the line between food and drink.

Providing convenient energy boosts with non-alcoholic drinks

Many consumers turn to non-alcoholic drinks for a quick energy boost to help them get through their day. These moments of refreshment are often time-constrained, leading shoppers to seek out products that help them to improve their energy, concentration and alertness while on the move.

Consumers are frequently grabbing convenient and functional drinks, such as RTD coffee and tea, energy drinks and other beverages that can be consumed whenever and wherever they need a boost. According to GlobalData’s 2015 Q4 global consumer survey, 40% of global consumers say that they are interested in and actively buying food/drink products that improve their energy levels. However, while consumers are on the lookout for an easy energy boost, health is still an essential factor for many drinkers.

As such, non-alcoholic drinks that offer functional and practical benefits that are relatively healthy and natural can be appealing to busy consumers. Leveraging the natural, energy-boosting characteristics of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients in new product formulations can help brands to target tired consumers.

Integrating ‘healthy’ new ingredients, such as fruit, spices, nuts and whole grains into beverages can be a simple way for brands to target the demand for more products that improve general health and wellbeing. Tropicana’s fruit smoothie with cereals is a notable example of this. Bridging the gap between food and drink, the convenient blend of cereals, banana, mango and orange is designed to target time-poor consumers by providing a filling snack or meal replacement that can be consumed while on the move.

Changing consumption occasions and locations for alcoholic drinks

Fuelled in part by the rise of urbanisation, many modern consumers are spending large amounts of time out of their homes, travelling to and from social venues, enjoying the weather and attending sporting events. Consequently, consumers are increasingly drinking while on the move.

In the past, the on-the-go trend has been relatively lacking in the alcoholic drinks sector, due in no small part to the fact that the main consumption occasions for such products were social situations where enjoyment and indulgence were valued over convenience and transportability.

As changing consumer behaviour creates new consumption occasions for alcoholic beverages, brands have an opportunity to capitalise on this growing trend. According to GlobalData’s 2016 Q3 global consumer survey, 57% of global consumers are often or always influenced by how alcoholic drinks align with their time and money constraints. Adapting products to better suit the needs of mobile consumers by introducing more convenient formats can help brands to appeal to on-the-go drinkers.

To capitalise on this trend, on-the-go alcoholic drinks must utilise convenient, compact and light packaging along with smaller multipacks. This is particularly applicable to portable beer and wine offerings, however, manufacturers must be careful to avoid encouraging anti-social behaviour. Introducing discreet packaging, smaller volumes and pre-mixed spirits can help brands to appeal to on-the-go consumers without being perceived as irresponsible.

Future opportunities for on-the-go beverage manufacturers

Shifting demographic and economic landscapes around the world are fuelling demand for on-the-go products, as emerging countries adopt more Western-style attitudes. Growing urbanisation, particularly the increasing numbers of women entering the workforce, and longer working days have significantly altered the way that consumers view their time.

Combined with the steady penetration of digital technology, such as smartphones, this increasingly hectic and mobile way of life is blurring the lines between work and free time, driving many people to forego traditional mealtimes in favour of products that can be consumed in unconventional locations throughout the day.

In emerging economies, notably Brazil, India and China, portability has become a priority for many consumers. This is largely due to the fact that consumers in these areas often have to travel longer distances every day for work and social events.

These time-poor consumers expect on-the-go products to be easier to use, more convenient and able to meet their time needs. However, despite growing demand for such products, consumers are unwilling to trade quality for convenience. Consequently, brands have to develop on-the-go products, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that offer notable functional or flavour benefits in order to successfully appeal to busy consumers.