Sweet soda market: results of the III 2023

#industry news

According to the Romir Unified Data Panel, the sweet soda market has almost recovered this year after the withdrawal of global brands from the Russian market in 2022. Moreover, last year's changes in the market gave an impetus to the development of local brands and tastes.

If we compare the results of the 3rd quarter of this year with the same period two years ago, then there is an increase in the audience by 3% – from 65.2% to 68.2%. Compared to the 3rd quarter of last year, penetration increased by 1.7%. Even the growth over the year can be considered significant, although 2022 turned out to be a crisis year for the category.

Together with the audience, the frequency of purchases of the category has increased, which together may indicate a market recovery. So, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, consumers began to buy sugary carbonated drinks more often than in 2022, but still not as often as in 2021. Over the year, the frequency of purchases increased by almost 20%, offsetting the recession, but still 5.6% behind the figures of two years ago.

The average receipt for the purchase of sweet soda in the 3rd quarter of this year amounted to 92 rubles, which is 4% less than a year earlier, but 18% more than in 2021.

We should also focus on the beverage sales channels. Although E-com is a small channel for the category, it has shown significant positive development dynamics in two years. Thus, compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the number of buyers of sweet carbonated water increased from 3.9% to 10.2%. Other indicators also increased: the frequency of purchases increased by 22.0%; the average receipt increased by 22.6%.

Rather, sales of sugary carbonated drinks are developing positively in such channels as hard discounters and alcoholics. Compared to the 3rd quarter of last year, in the same period of the current year, the frequency of soda purchases in alcoholics has significantly increased (+61.3%). In this channel, the average check in the category has increased by 32.2% in two years.

Hypermarkets, on the contrary, generally show negative dynamics in the category. Although the frequency of purchases in the current year has almost recovered compared to 2021, the audience buying sugary carbonated drinks in the channel decreased from 27.0% in the 3rd quarter of 2021 to 19.4% in 2023. Similarly, the volume purchased per customer decreased from 7.5 liters per quarter to 6.4 liters per quarter.

"The sweet soda category is one of the most dynamic and competitive segments of the beverage market. Recently, we have seen significant changes in consumer preferences and an expansion of the product range due to the emergence of new local brands. This creates unique challenges for manufacturers who are striving to maintain their market share and attract new customers.

According to recent research, more than a third of buyers are ready to replace a brand that is missing from the shelf with another brand with a similar taste. This highlights the importance of a variety of flavors in each brand's portfolio and the need for manufacturers to be flexible and responsive to changes in consumer preferences.

Our Consumer Dashboard provides unique data that allows you to analyze consumer behavior in this category. Given the spontaneous nature of purchases in this segment, only constant monitoring, including non–domestic consumption, can give a complete picture of current trends and consumer preferences," comments Margarita Abramkina, Director of Customer Relations at Romir, on the market situation.

According to the Romir Unified Data Panel, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the audience of local soda brands increased immediately by 11.1% compared to the same period in 2021 – from 47.5% to 58.6%. By the third quarter of this year, penetration decreased slightly compared to last year (-2.9%), but overall growth continues anyway.

From the 3rd quarter of 2022 to the 3rd quarter of 2023, the frequency of buying local soda brands has increased significantly. The average increase in this indicator was 43.2%. In some channels, the situation looks like this: in traditional trade, the increase in the frequency of purchases was 57.2%, E-com – 54.4%, alcoholics – 48.8%, discounters – 34.2%, hypermarkets – 35.7% and supermarkets – 49.5%. In hard discounters, the frequency of purchases has not increased significantly over the year, but the average check has significantly increased by +16%.

If we talk about different flavors of drinks, then traditional Russian tastes (Duchess, Tarhun, Baikal, etc.) have received a new boost in popularity.

Compared to the 3rd quarter of 2021, traditional tastes increased in the frequency of purchases by 48.9%, and compared to the same period last year, the growth rate was 31.8%. However, there was a decrease in the audience of fans of traditional tastes. In 2022, penetration immediately increased by 7.7% – from 44.9% to 52.6%, and a year later losses amounted to -9.1%.

The taste of Lemon/ Lime does not lose popularity either. It is growing in purchase frequency by 17.5% compared to 2021 and by 61.7% compared to 2022. And at the same time a Lemon/Lime does not lose in the audience – the dynamics is consistently positive with an average of around 21-22%.

The taste of Cola retains a loyal audience (52.6%) and even increased it relative to the pre-crisis 2021 (+1.3%). However, the frequency of buying this type of drink has decreased by a quarter compared to 2021.

Sugar-free sodas are not popular with the audience. The share of buyers decreased from the 3rd quarter of 2021 to the 3rd quarter of 2023 by 3.4% – from 26.5% to 17.5%, respectively. The frequency of purchases has not increased, and moreover, it has significantly decreased in traditional trading. However, only this type of carbonated drinks shows a significant increase in the value of the average receipt – by 40% in two years.