The Indian carbonates market increased by by 12% in retail volume terms in 2012, taking sales to a value of Rs75 billion. This growth was slightly lower than 14% growth in 2011. However, the growth remained strong, up by double-digits.
Carbonates in India showed the strongest growth in volumes terms in the whole of Asia-Pacific. This growth was mainly driven by India's demography where there is a high teenage population.
Other favourable factors, such as increasing urbanisation, a growing economy as well as changing lifestyles, also contributed to the growth. However, there was a small shift to non-carbonates due to the increasing health-consciousness among consumers, although this shift was mainly in urban centric parts of India which did not have a very strong impact on volumes.
According to a recent report, 'Carbonates in India,' lemonade/lime carbonates witnessed the highest growth in volume terms growing by 19% in 2012. This growth was mainly attributable to Nimbu Pani or lime juice in India being considered a thirst quencher.
Lime carbonates are clear in colour and strongly associated with freshness and are sometimes considered healthier than colas. Lime carbonates are also used as mixers with alcoholic drinks, such as vodka and gin.
Companies, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have spent heavily on advertisements and marketing campaigns for brands across all categories, particularly lime carbonates, which is one of the reasons why brands, such as Sprite, 7-Up and Limca, were among the fastest-growing in 2012.
Consumers, especially in urban areas, have slowly started to shift to healthier options, such as fruit/vegetable juices. This shift is mainly due to an increase in the awareness of the hazards related to drinking carbonates.
Coca-Cola continued to be the leading player in carbonates in 2012, accounting for 60% of total value sales. Comprising a stable offering that includes the top two brands (Sprite and Thums Up) it maintained a strong position. PepsiCo was the only other significant player in carbonates with a 36% retail value share in 2012.
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