Highballs trend gathering pace in South Korea’s On Premise

New consumer research from CGA by NIQ reveals major opportunities for more highball drinks sales in South Korea’s On Premise, with flavour and refreshment the top sales drivers.

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The insights are from CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse report, a monthly survey that takes the temperature of the channel and assesses consumers’ general behaviour, helping suppliers and operators to stay on top of important trends and developments. 


The survey shows nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers have bought at least one highball drink in the last month. It highlights the top factors in purchase, with nearly half (47%) selecting them over other categories because of the variety of flavours and refreshment they offer.  


There are clear signs that highballs’ momentum is accelerating. 43% of consumers say they choose them because of their current popularity, while well over half (58%) think the category’s popularity will continue for at least two more years. Lower alcohol content (21%), the arrival of new brands (18%) and promotions (12%) are among the other factors that have attracted people to highballs in the last month.  


Refreshment is another big driver of sales. More than half (55%) of drinkers associate highballs with ‘easy to drink’, and ‘light’ (40%) is another top association. The Consumer Pulse report also shows the large majority of highball sales are in everyday and mainstream venues—though some drinkers are hesitant about ordering them because the atmosphere or quality isn’t right for them. 


Jaepil Sohn, CGA by NIQ client solutions director, South Korea, said: “Highballs have been an attractive and profitable category for a while now, and there popularity is likely to grow further in 2024. There will be some great opportunities for suppliers and operators to grow sales and sharebut to achieve that it will be vital to identify what attracts consumers to different flavours, price points, venues and brands.” 


The latest Consumer Pulse also highlights the general strength of the On Premise in South Korea. Nine in ten (92%) consumers have been out to eat in the last month, while around half (48%) have been out to drink. Nearly a quarter (23%) say they are going out more often—higher than the number who are going out less (16%). 


CGA by NIQ’s Consumer Pulse report provides more expert analysis of engagement with South Korea’s On Premise, including frequency of visit, future plans and the latest preferences by channel, drinks category and more. The latest edition has extra research on trends in spirits and beer sales. The report is part of a suite of solutions that help On Premise businesses with both short-term gains and long-term growth strategies. To learn more, contact Jaepil Sohn at jaepil.sohn@nielseniq.com 

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