Pepsi pips Coca-Cola to on-trade top spot

Pepsi has overtaken Coca-Cola as the top-selling brand in the on-trade, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Report 2010.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola
Pepsi and Coca-Cola

The two brands dominated value sales in the on-trade with 94% of the cola market, and 41% of the overall market. But the star performer was Pepsi, with sales jumping 10% to £475m, while Coca-Cola dipped 1% to £446m. R Whites came in third after another strong year.

Britvic’s annual report, using independent data from Nielsen, is the most detailed analysis of the soft drinks category, offering data in both on and off-trade sales, as well as brand performances.

This year’s headlines figures show sales figures for soft drinks back in growth after 2008’s 1% decline – the market is now worth £8.5bn, a rise of 2%. Volume was also up 1%.

This rise has seen the category leapfrog spirits into second place in the on-trade – behind only beer – and retain number one spot in take home sales.

The Top 10 brands remained dominant in the take-home market in 2009, accounting for nearly half of total sales. Coca-Cola managed to retain top spot, with Pepsi down in fourth. However, the fastest growing brand went to Pepsi Max with sales up 9%.

It wasn’t such a good year for another PepsiCo brand, though: sales of Tropicana dropped 6% to £270m as consumers traded down from pure juice.

This was expected, given the economic climate, but what was less so is what they were trading down to, says Murray Harris, sales director at Britvic.

“[The findings] highlighted a number of unexpected switches that consumers have made over the last year. Who would’ve thought that pure juice consumers would be switching now to low calorie cola?”

Research commissioned for the report showed that consumers were switching and swapping between brands and products to get the best value. As a result, promotions were up: within soft drinks alone promotions on formats for later consumption increased by 3% to 49%.

Harris adds: “Although soft drinks form a part of our everyday lives and the industry can by buoyed by this return to form, consumer spending habits have undoubtedly changed during the course of the downturn. Manufacturers and retailers have had to aggressively market soft drinks’ value for money and the fact that the market has enjoyed solid growth in the last year can be attributed to this.”

The winners:

– Pepsi Max – sales value up 9%

– Pepsi – leapfrogged Coca-Cola in the on-trade

– Relentless and Monster – glucose and stimulant drinks were up 7%, over half of which was down to these two brands alone

– Actimel – value sales up 7%

– Tango and Vimto – add some flavour to fzz with sales up 18% and 27%

The losers:

Tropicana – sales slump as consumers trade down to squash and low-cal cola

Lucozade – hits the wall sales down 3%

Smoothies – the rough ride continues with sales down 27%

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