RedSky Gazette#1: A deep-dive into the cold and refreshing beverages segment, as brands gear up for their biggest season

As the sun continues its onward march, and folks are bracing for the blazing torment from the skies above, the world around seems to be on the move. The great Indian democracy has the election commission moving heaven and earth to pick the 17th Lok Sabha, the dragons are taking over the airtime, cricket continues to witness thinning of lines between sports and theatre. Brands all around are putting their hearts and souls to capture the consumers’ fancy. From ACs and coolers to ice creams and talcum powder, the gear up for the mango season is in full swing. As we pondered over several possibilities for our first blog post, there was a unanimous agreement on analyzing the thirst quenchers, the life savers that make the toughest summer heat bearable, the colas, the juices, the cold brews.

With access to data from stores across the length and breadth of Mumbai, we’ve got our market analysis, interpretation and insights generation arsenal up and about. To get to the depth of beverages industries, we looked at the data from the last six months, studying the performance of more than 50 brands, comprising of not just the usual suspects, the market leaders but also a plethora of interesting startup and challenger brands. As we witness a significant push towards low sugar/sugar-free products catering to the consumers’ increasing health consciousness, Diet Coke has become Mumbai’s preferred thirst reliever, with its 330ml emerging as the most sold SKU (~5%). 

Juices, have also seen some interesting trends with customers readily trying out newer variants such as cold press juices and even non fruit-based drinks like vitamin water.

For getting an overview on the segment and generating a better understanding of brand interplay we’ve further segregated them into Top 10 market leaders, Next 20 challengers and new entrants. Amongst the leaders, Coke & Pepsi brands lead the market, with Dabur’s Real following them closely. ITC’s B Natural has shown a significant growth in market share in the recent months.

But when we look at the Next 20 Challengers, there were some notable surprises. Raw Pressery as a new entrant, has been experiencing some great tailwind, delivering steady month on month growth. On the other hand, the iconic Paper Boat has seen its market fortunes tumble, now contributing to less than 50 Bps of the overall market and are at 70 Bps of the Juices+ category (as compared to Raw Pressery’s 110 Bps in March).

“While Juices lead in overall market share, ‘Diet Coke 330ML’ is the largest selling SKU”

But when we look at the Next 20 Challengers, there were some notable surprises. Raw Pressery as a new entrant, has been experiencing some great tailwind, delivering steady month on month growth. On the other hand, the iconic Paper Boat has seen its market fortunes tumble, now contributing to less than 50 Bps of the overall market and are at 70 Bps of the Juices+ category (as compared to Raw Pressery’s 110 Bps in March).

The ‘Paper Boat’ situation is quite curious with the brand having a pan Mumbai presence and a nearly 100% Value Weighted Distribution (VWD), indicating a slipping consumer preference vis-à-vis the brand. Even its Jaljeera variant, its most popular offering has seen its share slip, with a new drink ‘Jeeru’ gaining steadily at its expense and almost doubling its market share in the six months.

As the beverage market evolves, representing the changing preferences of an increasingly aware and demanding consumer, the existing brands are expanding their offerings, even whilst new and exciting brands burst into this heating segment. The next few months are going to define success or lack thereof for a lot of these new players. In the meanwhile, we will keep our eyes on the data and our ears on the ground, to keep track of the ever changing market dynamics.

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