Sales of the major beverage categories are forecast to increase 2.2% per year from 2020 to 2025 but certainly not at a steady rate over that period, according to the update of Packaged Facts' benchmark coverage of retail beverage sales in Beverage Market Outlook 2021: Retail Beverage Trends & Consumption Preferences. Sales spiked in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus as consumers ate and drank virtually everything at home.

Beverage retail sales didn't experience as big of an increase in 2020 as retail sales of food items since a high percentage of packaged beverage consumption occurs when people are out of home (e.g., at school, work, events, gyms, exercising, travelling). Additionally, a relatively high percentage of beverage sales (especially water, soda, energy drinks, and ready-to-drink juices and teas) occur in convenience stores, which lost a lot of consumer traffic in 2020 due to reduced activity in travel, commuting, etc.

Beverage Market Outlook 2021: Retail Beverage Trends & Consumption Preferences analyzes and highlights near-term factors in the context of overall industry development and long-term consumer preferences and behaviors as well as marketing and product development innovations. Beverage sales growth is projected at a significantly lower rate in 2021, as many Americans receive vaccinations and much of the country resumes pre-pandemic activities and beverage spending shifts back toward foodservice venues over retail outlets at least to a degree. The rise of the Delta variant and the threat of future variants, plus a stall in vaccination rates complicates sales projections for 2021 and beyond.

Actionable insights are available as this report considers COVID-related behaviors in the pandemic and beyond. The extraordinary impact of the crisis changed consumer behavior significantly, accelerating the manifestation of many of them. As life returns to more regular patterns throughout the rest of this year and beyond, it is expected that several trends in the beverage industry will gain even further traction. These include dairy free/plant based, functional attributes, sugar reduction, hybrids, CBD, plastic packaging solutions, and evolutions in online sales and distribution.