Nielsen: CSDs Rebound, Energy Drinks Keeps Up Pace in April

Carbonated soft drink sales were back up, while a rebound from Red Bull fueled continuing growth in energy drink sales, according to a Wells Fargo Securities report detailing the latest Nielsen xAOC (expanded all outlets combined) and C-store non-alcoholic beverage sales data for the four-week period ending on April 22.

All-channel sales for the total snack and beverage categories were up 3.4 percent during the period. Bonnie Herzog, managing director for equity research at Wells Fargo Securities, noted that the shift in timing for the Easter holiday likely contributed to stronger overall results for the period. Last year’s period did not include the full week before Easter.

After posting a1.3 percent decline during the 12 weeks prior, sales of carbonated soft drinks were up 2 percent compared to the same four-week period last year. Coca-Cola posted the largest increase during the timeframe, growing 4.1 percent behind strong performance from CSDs and teas/coffee. Dr Pepper Snapple grew 3.1 percent, above 0.4 percent growth in the prior 12 weeks.

PepsiCo posted a meager 0.7 percent growth in sales of its snack and beverage products, which were down by 1 percent in the 12 weeks prior.

Energy drink sales increased by 3.8 percent during the four-week period, continuing the momentum from a 3 percent increase in the prior 12 weeks. Red Bull maintained its positive trajectory, ticking up 7 percent during the four-week period after posting a 6.1 percent gain in the prior 12 weeks.

Elsewhere, PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew Kickstarter continued its decline from earlier this year, down 15.6 percent in the four-week period.

Monster Energy also showed improving sales, up 3.8 percent during the four-week period, compared to 3.4 percent for the 12 weeks prior. Yet analysts were tempered in their responses: a report from Morgan Stanley noted that production shortages on Monster Java contributed to a decline of 186 basis points (BPS) year-over-year impact on the company. Mutant’s decelerating contributions to total sales growth at Monster were also highlighted, with analysts remarking that the neon green “super soda” launched last year “continues to look like a failure in our minds.”

Herzog echoed those thoughts, noting that despite being encouraged by innovations at Monster, flat sales trends for Mutant and the delayed launch of Hydro were still causes for worry over the company’s long-term outlook.