Impulse sales of Diet Coke variant Diet Coke With Lemon have plummeted eight months after its launch. Insiders claims the drop may be because the taste does not appeal to UK consumers.
At its peak, last August, Diet Coke With Lemon sold 1.7 million litres in newsagents, convenience stores, petrol stations and off-licences, but by January this year the figure was down by nearly two-thirds, to 612,000 litres (AC Nielsen). Sales by value in the same sector peaked at £2.3m in August, but plunged to £791,000 by January.
Sales of parent brand Diet Coke have also fallen seasonally, but by nowhere near as big a percentage. They fell from an August high of 8.49 million litres to 5.28 million litres in January.
Diet Coke With Lemon has fared better in multiple grocers, but is still down from 4.52 million litres last August to 2.75 million litres in January.
Coca-Cola Great Britain launched Diet Coke With Lemon last June, backed by an outdoor and sampling campaign (MW April 4, 2002). A spokeswoman says that a levelling-off after launch is only to be expected as the novelty factor and high awareness die down.
She adds that, taken together, sales of Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke and Diet Coke With Lemon grew 7.8 per cent by volume in 2002.