Females and older consumers drive trend away from carbonated soft drinks in favor of healthier alternatives
(March 19, 2012) Chicago, IL – As major beverage manufacturers announce plans to significantly increase global marketing expenditures, a new study from Vision Critical’s integrated Consumer, Retail and Shopper Insights team reveals that nearly two in five adult Americans (38%) are drinking fewer carbonated soft drinks compared to just one year ago. This is the largest year-over-year drop among non-alcoholic beverage categories tested, and suggests that some consumers are actively paring back on daily carbonated soft drink consumption.
Concerns over the perceived healthiness of carbonated soft drinks are the main driving force behind the decline in consumption. Nearly two thirds of Americans believe that carbonated soft drinks are not good for their teeth (64%), and over half say they have too much sugar (53%). Despite these concerns, more than one third of Americans see carbonated soft drinks as their “guilty pleasure” beverage (39%), or drink them as an indulgence (33%). Females are especially likely to see carbonated soft drinks as a guilty pleasure or indulgence (43%) than males (34%), keeping them engaged in the category despite concerns over the healthiness of their beverage choices.
The study included over one thousand randomly-selected adults from Vision Critical’s nationally representative Springboard America consumer panel and shows that the decline in daily carbonated soft drink consumption is being driven by females and older consumers, both of whom are also more likely to consume tea or coffee daily. Males had a seven per cent net year-over-year decline in daily soft drink consumption compared to 30 per cent for females, with older respondents also less likely to report daily consumption of carbonated soft drinks while their intake of tea and coffee increased.
|% Consume Beverage Several Times a Day|
|Total||18-34 Year Olds||35-54 Year Olds||55 and Older|
|Carbonated Soft Drinks||21%||35%||26%||12%|
In an effort to combat health-related concerns, beverage manufactures have recently released new low-calorie or diet alternative soft drinks such as Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, and Dr. Pepper 10. Despite these efforts, regular soft drinks still dominate consumers’ self-reported share of beverage consumption (60% on average), with diet and new zero/low calorie soft drinks showing more modest consumption patterns (28% and 12% respectively).
|% Share of Typical Consumption Volume|
Compared to Coffee and Tea, carbonated soft drinks still fill unique needs and occasions. Soft drinks are the top non-alcoholic beverage for “while on the go” and “during a typical lunch” while tea/coffee is number one “to kick off my day” and “when I’m feeling tired.” Preference for these beverages is split for “a quick afternoon pick-me-up” and “as an evening treat”, suggesting that both are thought of as indulgences that help to keep consumers alert.
|% Select for Each Beverage Type|
|Carbonate Soft Drinks||Tea/Coffee/Coffee Drinks|
|For a quick pick-me-up in the afternoon||26%||28%|
|As an evening treat||27%||23%|
|To kick off my day||7%||51%|
|While on the go||27%||15%|
|When you are feeling tired||15%||33%|
|During a typical lunch||30%||17%|
The data featured in this release was conducted by the integrated Consumer, Retail and Shopper Insights Team of Vision Critical as a part of an ongoing research series tracking evolving consumer attitudes and shopping behaviors. Based on online fieldwork collected January 24 and January 25, 2012, the study involved over 1,000 randomly selected adults in the US. With a total sample size of 1,016 adults in the US, it’s with 95% certainty that the results are accurate to within +/- 3.07%.