Nielsen Numbers: Big Soda Volume Struggles; Water, Energy, Sports Drinks Swell

CokeWhile carbonated soft drink (CSD) giants continue to lean on price hikes as a way to offset volume declines, the industry continues to struggle. According to a recent analyst report from Cowen and Company covering Nielsen xAOC (expanded all outlets combined) sales data, the CSD category saw volume fall by 2.7 percent in the 12-week-period ending May 16, despite posting dollar sales growth of 1.5 percent.

Driven by sales of Coke, Sprite and Fanta, category leader The Coca-Cola Company saw CSD dollar sales rise by 2.5 percent in the period, even as its volume decreased 3.2 percent. PepsiCo posted a 0.8 percent increase in dollar sales, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group encountered a 1.5 percent bump in dollar sales and a 1.1 percent drop in volume.

Also suffering from volume losses is the refrigerated juice category, which saw volume declines of 3.7 percent for the period. Some fared better than others: Coca-Cola’s refrigerated juice sales, which include those of its Minute Maid brand, grew 3.1 percent while declines in Tropicana sales resulted in PepsiCo losing 1.4 pts in dollar share of the category.

Meanwhile, several other categories saw strong performances during the 12-week timeframe. Dollar sales of energy drinks were up 11.2 percent, powered by Monster and Red Bull which saw growth of 9 percent and 13.4 percent respectively. Bottled water dollar sales rose by 7 percent with volume sales up 6.3 percent. Sports drinks enjoyed success as well, posting a 6.5 percent bump in dollar sales while ready-to-drink tea grew by 9.6 percent.