Industry Analysis: Soft Drinks

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Meghan Deichert, Meghan Ellenbecker, Emily Klehr,
Leslie Pesarchick, & Kelly Ziegler
Strategic Management in a Global Context
February 22, 2006
Industry Analysis: Soft Drinks

Barbara Murray (2006c) explained the soft drink industry by stating, “For years the story in the nonalcoholic sector centered on the power struggle between…Coke and Pepsi. But as the pop fight has topped out, the industry's giants have begun relying on new product flavors…and looking to noncarbonated beverages for growth.” In order to fully understand the soft drink industry, the following should be considered: the dominant economic factors, five competitive sources, industry trends, and the industry’s key factors. Based on the analyses of the industry, specific recommendations for competitors can then be created. Dominant Economic Factors

Market size, growth rate and overall profitability are three economic indicators that can be used to evaluate the soft drink industry. The market size of this industry has been changing. Soft drink consumption has a market share of 46.8% within the non-alcoholic drink industry, illustrated in Table 1. Datamonitor (2005) also found that the total market value of soft drinks reached $307.2 billion in 2004 with a market value forecast of $367.1 billion in 2009. Further, the 2004 soft drink volume was 325,367.2 million liters (see Table 2). Clearly, the soft drink industry is lucrative with a potential for high profits, but there are several obstacles to overcome in order to capture the market share.

The growth rate has been recently criticized due to the U.S. market saturation of soft drinks. Datamonitor (2005) stated, “Looking ahead, despite solid growth in consumption, the global soft drinks market is expected to slightly decelerate, reflecting stagnation of market prices.” The change is attributed to the other growing sectors of the non-alcoholic industry including tea and coffee (11.8%) and bottled water (9.3%). Sports drinks and energy drinks are also expected to increase in growth as competitors start adopting new product lines. 2

Profitability in the soft drink industry will remain rather solid, but market saturation especially in the U.S. has caused analysts to suspect a slight deceleration of growth in the industry (2005). Because of this, soft drink leaders are establishing themselves in alternative markets such as the snack, confections, bottled water, and sports drinks industries (Barbara Murray, 2006c). In order for soft drink companies to continue to grow and increase profits they will need to diversify their product offerings.

The geographic scope of the competitive rivalry explains some of the economic features found in the soft drink industry. According to Barbara Murray (2006c), “The sector is dominated by three major players…Coca-Cola is king of the soft drink-empire and boasts a global market share of around 50%, followed by PepsiCo at about 21%, and Cadbury Schweppes at 7%.” Aside from these major players, smaller companies such as Cott Corporation and National Beverage Company make up the remaining market share. All five of these companies make a portion of their profits outside of the United States. Table 3 shows that the US does not hold the highest percentage of the global market share, therefore companies need to be able to compete globally in order to be successful.

Table 4 indicates that Coca-Cola has a similar distribution of sales in Europe, North America, and Asia. On the other hand, the majority of PepsiCo’s profits come from the United States (see Table 5). Compared to PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes has a stronger global presence with their global mix (see Table 7). Smaller companies are also trying to establish a global presence. Cott Corporation is a good example as indicated in Table 8. The saturation of the US markets has increased the global expansion by soft drink leaders to increase their...
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