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Consumer Behavior in the Russian Market of Carbonated Beverages

Research by the Company MASMI

Carbonated drinks are often classified as unhealthy: some experts believe that consumption of carbonated beverages may negatively affect human health. However, what do consumers themselves think and what are the reasons of consumption of products in the category? What are the dynamics of the category as a whole, and what defines the current dynamics of the market?
In order to study preferences in the category of carbonated beverages, MASMI surveyed 200 consumers aged 18-44 in Russian million cities. Every participant consumes products in question not less than once a week and is responsible for food purchases in the household. The research was carried out in March 2017. The study participants were responding to questions in a form of an online questionnaire.

All in all one can speak of negative dynamics in the development of the category despite the majority of consumers (46%) drinking approximately the same volume of carbonated drinks as 3 years ago, 35% of respondents report a decline in the level of consumption within the product category during the time period. Only 20% of respondents started consuming more carbonated drinks. Intensification of consumption is considerably less likely in respondents aged 35-44.
It is interesting to note that among the younger audience (18-24), the level of carbonated beverage consumption is much higher: more than 25% of survey participants drink them daily at this age.

More than half of consumers in the category occasionally drink beverages under the trademarks Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta, and Dyushes (by different manufacturers). The leading brand (Coca-Cola) is occasionally chosen by over 70% of respondents. It is important to consider that Sprite and Mountain Dew are consumed a lot less often by the young audience (18-24).
Regarding carbonated beverages that are consumed most often, Coca-Cola is also leading here more than 33% of respondents drink it more often than others. It is followed by Baikal (by different producers), Pepsi and Sprite these drinks are drunk most often by a bit less than 10% of consumers in the category.
During the past 3 years, over 15% of respondents abandoned the following carbonated beverages: Mirinda, 7up, Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite. In over half of these cases, a change in preferences served as the main motive for abandonment of a certain brand participants started liking other drinks (they try new products, trends change etc.). This is valid for all age groups.
Health concerns are second in the list of reasons. Around one third of respondents who abandoned a certain carbonated drink explain their decision with the notion that they are harmful for the digestive system and contain too much sugar. The importance of this reason increases with age.
Less than 25% of consumers having abandoned certain carbonated drinks report a decline in product quality; less than 15% state that carbonated drinks do not quench thirst, or mention the desire to lose weight or save money.

Over 30% of respondents primarily pay attention to the flavor while choosing carbonated drinks; almost 20% base their choice on the brand. This system of priorities is typical for respondents under 34 years of age. Brands play a more important role in choice for the older audience (35-44).
According to the survey results, factors such as color, medical recommendations, packaging appearance and the availability of a given drink everywhere are the least relevant in carbonated beverage selection all in all these options were chosen by less than 3% of respondents.

The category of carbonated beverages is characterized by a low level of planning: according to the survey, only 27% of consumers plan their purchase of carbonated drinks in advance. This pattern is typical for study participants of all age groups. At the same time over half of those who did plan the purchase decided on the brand and volume in advance. The flavor is considered by a bit less than half of consumers surveyed.
Almost 80% of consumers in the category buy carbonated drinks in supermarkets, and more than 60% do so in hypermarkets. Food stores are the third most important sales channel more than 40% of respondents purchase carbonated beverages there.

According to the study, carbonated drink consumers actively purchase soft drinks of other categories. More than 90% drink packaged juices, and more than 80% consume mineral/bottled water. Kvas as well as packaged coffee and tea drinks are consumed by almost 70% of respondents in the target audience.
It is important to note that consumers of carbonated drinks mainly purchase soft drinks of other categories in supermarkets and hypermarkets. Those who consume mineral/bottled water or packaged tea/coffee drinks in addition to carbonated beverages demonstrate a higher level of purchase planning in the two categories mentioned: over half of these respondents think the purchase over in advance.
To sum up, one can conclude that the category of carbonated beverages on the whole demonstrate more negative dynamics, and changing consumer preferences serve as the main motive for the decline in consumption. At the same time, the belief that carbonated drinks are unhealthy and bad for the digestive system and contain a lot of sugar also significantly affected the level of carbonated drink consumption.

Nataliya Demyanenko,
Senior Project Manager
Department of Quantitative Research