Pepsi outperforms Coke

Coca-Cola’s investment in advertising to support its Olympic sponsorship failed to return the uplift in sales the soft drinks giant would have hoped for in 2012, while its rival Pepsi outperformed the market leader and saw a “particularly strong” sales increase, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks report.

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Sales of all variants of Coca-Cola – the master brand, Coke Zero and Diet Coke – in the grocery, convenience and impulse market increased just 0.8 per cent to £1.15bn last year, compared with a 7 per cent uplift the previous year. Volume sales meanwhile fell 3.3 per cent during the year.

Sales of Pepsi variants – Pepsi and Pepsi Max – registered a sales increase of 7.4 per cent to £352.2m while volume sales increased 10 per cent. The brand has focused marketing on music with Live for Now, its first global campaign for Pepsi, starring Nicki Minaj.

The Britvic Soft Drinks report also credited Pepsi’s promotional strategy to cross-promote drinks and snacks such as Doritos for tapping into consumers’ desire to stay in.

Pepsi also outperformed Coca-Cola in the on-trade with sales in pubs and clubs increasing 8 per cent to £336m and 1.3 per cent volume growth. Coke reported growth of 6.8 per cent to £301m but a 3 per cent fall in volumes.

Total sales of soft drinks in the grocery, convenience and impulse market increased 2.8 per cent to £7.21bn. Volume sales fell 0.8 per cent year on year.

Overall in pubs and clubs, soft drink sales increased 1.5 per cent to £2.73bn reversing the decline in 2011.

Colas remain the top selling category in the grocery category accounting for 22 per cent of sales (£1.6bn), although volumes slipped 0.4 per cent.

Juice sales increased 1 per cent while volumes decreased 5.8 per cent, as the category struggled in the impulse channel. Glucose stimulant drinks, such as Red Bull and Lucozade had their best ever year with near 10 per cent volume and value growth.

The annual sector report signalled the ‘water plus’ category as “one to watch” for future growth reporting 7.4 per cent increase in value sales and 7.7 per cent volume sales, outperforming plain water. Cold hot drinks such as iced tea and coffee reported 42 per cent value growth and 22 per cent volume sales “boding well” for coming years, according to the report.

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