The soft drink Sprite has surpassed $1 billion in sales in India, making it the second brand after Thums Up to achieve this milestone in Coca-Cola Co.’s local portfolio.
“Sprite has grown to become a billion-dollar brand in the market, driven by the success of locally adapted, occasion-based global marketing campaigns,” said James Quincey, chairman and chief executive officer of the Coca-Cola Co., in a post-earnings conference call.
The lime and lemon-based soft drink brand also has the highest household penetration in the company’s India portfolio, it said.
In the earnings statement for the third quarter ended September, the world’s largest beverage company said that unit case volumes grew 9% in the Asia-Pacific region, driven by strong growth in India and China.
Within categories, sparkling soft drinks and the fruit-based drink Maaza were key growth drivers.
“Sparkling soft drinks grew 3%, driven by growth across all geographic operating segments, primarily led by India, Mexico and China,” Quincey said.
Nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages grew 6%, led by Maaza in India. The trademark Coke delivered strong growth through effective execution and occasion-based marketing.
“India had a knockout quarter. Clearly, they are having a very strong run this year and powering the growth forward,” said Quincey, adding that Coca-Cola will continue to “invest strongly” in the country.
India is the fifth-largest market for Coca-Cola globally. The company drove 2.5 billion transactions in India at affordable price points through the expansion of returnable glass bottles and single-serve PET packages.
On a consolidated basis, Coca-Cola Co.’s unit case volume grew 4%, with broad-based growth across most operating segments, it said in its September quarter earnings release.
The company’s net revenue grew 10% to $11.1 billion in the July-September period owing to price hikes.
“We are seeing changes in behaviour with consumers backing off from discretionary purchases and squeezing down the basket size per trip and looking to smaller packs,” said Quincey.
He expects commodities to remain volatile even as some input prices have come off from their highs recently.
In bottling investments, Coca-Cola’s unit case volume grew 16%, driven by India and Vietnam.
Coca-Cola’s earnings mirrored rival PepsiCo Inc., which also saw its beverage volume grow in double digits in India in the 12 weeks ended Sept. 30.
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