The latest figures indicate that consumers continue to shun soft drinks. Industry sales at convenience stores and major retail centers dropped between 3–4% in the first quarter this year, echoing the sales slide that started nearly at decade ago. Manufacturers are trying to counter weak sales by offering the products in new packaging – bottle sizes of both 16 ounces and 24 ounces, instead of the most recent 20 ounce standard.
The strategy may or may not succeed. It’s not that consumers are drinking less. They’ve turned to bottled enhanced water, ready to drink teas and energy drinks. Between 2006 and 2007 these categories experienced growth rates of greater than 15% when measured in terms of gallons sold. These industry segments are smaller than the soft drink industry so far. For example, energy drinks are worth nearly $5 billion annually while the soft drink industry weighs in at $14 billion annually.
Agencies can find plenty of opportunity as traditional soft drink brands require new campaigns to attract attention while new products need campaigns to develop awareness. As competition increases in the industry and larger firms acquire smaller firms, marketing needs will change as well.
McKay, Betsy. “Coke, Pepsi Bottlers Try New Sizes,” Wall Street Journal, 5.2.2008
Beverage World State of the Industry Report, 2008