New entrants into the soda segment stir new war for market share

NIGERIA – The carbonated soft drinks (CSD) market share is up for grabs amidst fierce competition among players, by both the ancient soda dominators and new entrants who are all seeking supremacy in the market.

According to the Vanguard, there are over 18 soda brands in the Nigerian market today, as opposed to 30 years ago where the market was dominated by major brands by Coca Cola Nigeria Limited (CCNL), SevenUp Bottling Company (SBC Plc) and Casera Company Limited.

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In addition to the old-dominating brands such as Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite; Pepsi, SevenUp and Mirinda; LaCasera, new brands have set in prompting a competitive environment thus depleting the market leaders’ share.

New soda brands include Big Cola, produced by Ajeast Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of AJE Group, a Peruvian soft drink producer; and Bigi Cola, manufactured by Rite Foods Limited.

In findings released by Vanguard Companies & Markets, C&M, for any brand to have a stronger hold on consumers and the ability to induce them to switch brand loyalty, they have to control the price of the soda drink market, without content reduction.

Bigi Cola is embarking on pricing for its four variants; Bigi Cola, Orange, Lemon-Lime and Apple, selling them for quite a lower price to penetrate the soft drink market.

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While others are dominant in the low-growth market, Coca Cola and Pepsi are leaders in the high-growth market making them the dominant brands in the soda market.

To tame competition from the entrants, the giant bottlers including Coca-Cola have positioned themselves strong with a combination of product quality, relentless consumer engagement and aggressive advertising.

C& M findings suggests that 2017 had limited product launches due to impacts of economic stagnation and the few launches focused on refreshing packaging or maintaining stable prices through lower pack sizes.

This kept Coca-Cola at the helm in the soft drinks category, enjoying high level of awareness followed by Pepsi pushing consumer engagement as well as discounts and promotions offering.

While the poor economy led to low purchasing power in 2017, total sales volume is expected to grow this year even as Nigeria’s economy continues to recover from recession.

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