Is SA’s RTD/Iced Tea Industry Cooling Down?

Globally, ready-to-drink (RTD) tea continues to gain popularity as consumers’ perception of these products as a healthy alternative grows. However, in the South African market it appears as if RTD tea has become fewer consumers’ ‘cup of tea’ as the market has witnessed a decline in volume terms in the past year.

Notwithstanding, it is anticipated that the local RTD Tea market could benefit from improved market conditions and product innovation. Yet whether this will become reality remains uncertain as there could be many a slip between the cup and the lip over the next couple of years.

Insight Survey’s latest SA RTD/Iced Tea Industry Landscape Report 2019 uncovers the global and local markets based on the latest information and research.  It describes the market drivers and restraints as well as the relevant global and local market trends to present an objective insight into the South African RTD Tea industry environment, market dynamics and its future.

In 2018, the global RTD Tea market was approximately 35.6 billion litres in volume terms and is forecast to grow at CAGR of 4.3% over the next five years. Asia-Pacific comprised the largest segment of the RTD Tea market at 75.3%, or in volume terms 26.5 billion litres during 2018, as illustrated in the graph below. This was followed by North America and Western Europe at 11.2% (approximately 4.0 billion litres) and 9.2% (approximately 3.3 billion litres), respectively.

RTD Tea Market

Locally, the South African RTD Tea market decreased by 3.3% from 2017 to 2018 in terms of off-trade value sales mainly as a result of a weak economy and declining disposable incomes causing consumers to shift to more affordable alternatives. This situation was exacerbated by the recent implementation of the sugar tax levy which has led to an increase in the prices of sugar-containing beverages and forced manufacturers to shoulder additional costs. As a result, price has also become a key competitive tool.

Interestingly, local on-trade value (and volume) sales increased by 8.3% from 2017 to 2018, mainly as a result of competitors shifting their focus to schools and on-trade outlets. Schools have become a target area mainly as a result of the fact that RTD tea offers a healthier option for children, compared to other CSDs. Other trends which has also influenced the increase in on-trade value sales includes the growing popularity of exotic flavours, and the rise in demand for Kombucha and cold brew tea.

In terms of the overall market, a turnaround is expected over the forecast period as the market is projected to increase at a CAGR of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. This turnaround will mainly be fuelled by an expected improvement in market conditions and supported by the continuing health trend and the rising popularity of functional ingredients such as rooibos.

The South African RTD/Iced Tea Industry Landscape Report 2019 (88 pages) provides a dynamic synthesis of industry research, examining the local and global RTD Tea industry from a uniquely holistic perspective, with detailed insights into the entire value chain – from manufacturing and importing to retailing, sustainability, pricing analysis, consumption and purchasing trends.

Some key questions the report will help you to answer:

  • What are the current market dynamics of the global RTD Tea industry?
  • What are the value and volume trends in the SA RTD Tea market (2013-2018) and forecasts (2019-2023)?
  • What are the latest SA RTD Tea industry trends, drivers, and restraints?
  • Who are the key manufacturing and retail players in the SA RTD Tea industry?
  • What are the prices of popular RTD Tea products at retail outlets?

Please note that the 88-page report is available for purchase for R27,500 (excluding VAT). Alternatively, individual sections can be purchased for R10,000 (excluding VAT). For additional information simply contact us at or directly on (021) 045-0202 or (010) 140-5756.

For a full brochure please go to: South African RTD Tea Landscape Report 2019

About Insight Survey:

Insight Survey is a South African B2B market research company with almost 10 years of heritage, focusing on business-to-business (B2B) market research to ensure smarter, more-profitable business decisions are made with reduced investment risk.

We offer B2B market research solutions to help you to successfully improve or expand your business, enter new markets, launch new products or better understand your internal or external environment.

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