Mohsenian, Herzog Mixed on Monster Sales

Bonnie Herzog, Wells Fargo

Bonnie Herzog, Wells Fargo

Herzog was bullish on Monster’s recent performance – it was up nearly 15 percent over the four-week  period ending June 7 – but that doesn’t include convenience stores, as it is a reading of Nielsen’s enhanced Food/Drug/Mass scan data. But what’s interesting there is that Herzog’s report is read as a look at “take-home channels” – and that’s indicative of strong energy drink (up about 9 percent) and Monster growth overall in places like grocery and club stores. In other words, consumers bought these products over memorial day weekend, most likely in multipacks since those are the favored formats in take home channels.

Red Bull was up only 3.5 percent over the same period.

Meanwhile, according to Herzog, Coke promoted heavily over the period and gained slightly in the CSD category (up about 1 share point on its rivals). Its homegrown Gold Peak brand remained a strong performer for the brand in the noncarb area, which moved teas up a stunning 24 percent. Note that Coke has been suffering in the tea arena behind the loss of a contract with Nestea, but has been subbing in a new Fuze line.

Herzog was bullish about Coke for the summer season, noting the company’s “relatively solid performance and share gains… bodes well for ongoing strength over the next several months.”

Mohsenian saw a different picture, looking at IRI data that included convenience stores. On the energy drink front, the analyst saw 3.8 percent growth over a 12-week period ending June 8 – down about ½ a percentage point from the previous period’s 4.4 percent growth – and Monster sales slowing month-to-month from 9 percent growth to 5.5 percent. In convenience, according to Mohsenian, Monster sales increased 3.7 percent, just behind the overall category for the month in question. Overall, however, Monster’s growth has been consistent year-to-year, increasing 7.8 percent on a two-year average basis, far outstripping overall category growth of 2.4 percent.

So what kind of takeaways can come from these comparisons? That Monster is becoming more of a go-to brand in a multi-channel environment. Indeed, looking at pricing trends from both Mohsenian and Herzog, promotional activity was down for Monster, with Mohsenian indicating the brand has taken pricing increases for the past four months. Doing so might have hurt momentum at immediate consumption against more heavily promoted brands over, say, Memorial Day Weekend – but on the other hand, there could have already been a case of Monster in the back, waiting to get drunk when the consumer got home.