Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola records 11% drop in revenues as global beverage industry takes a hit from Covid-19

US – The Coca-Cola Company, one of the largest beverage manufacturers in the world, has recorded an 11% decline in net revenue for the full-year ending December 2020, following ‘incremental pressure’ amid the pandemic during Q4.

The company full-year net revenues stood at US$33 billion as at 31st December while net revenue for the fourth quarter dropped by 5% to reach of US$8.997 billion.

Coca-Cola says that while volumes broadly remained resilient particularly in at-home channels, it experienced incremental pressure in December and into the early part of this year due to a resurgence of the coronavirus in many parts of the world.

Global unit case volume for the multinational beverage company declined 3% in Q4 and 6% for the full-year, as continued strength in at-home channels was more than offset by coronavirus pressure in away-from-home channels.

“While near-term uncertainty remains, we are well-positioned to emerge stronger from the crisis, driven by our purpose and our beverages for life ambition.”

James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company,

Even as the pandemic dragged on during the year, Coca-Cola says it prioritized core brands, which resulted in Trademark Coca-Cola volume growing 1% for the quarter, led by Coca-Cola® Zero Sugar with volume growth of 3% for the quarter and 4% for the full year.

In away-from-home channels, the company took action to capture available opportunities.

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In the United States for instance, the company developed new, multi-serve takeout bundles for drive-through channels and innovated with touchless Freestyle equipment.

In digital channels, the company continued to invest in omnichannel opportunities which it says helped it gain 3 points of value share in China where digital commerce growth is highest.

Despite of this, Sparkling soft drinks fell 4% for the full year due to pressure in the fountain business in North America and away-from-home channels in Western Europe.

Water, enhanced water and sports drinks declined also 11% for the year, while tea and coffee fell 17%, primarily driven by coronavirus-related pressure on the company’s Costa retail stores.

For the full-year, Europe, Middle East & Africa net revenues fell 14%, Latin America declined 15%, North America 4%, Asia Pacific 11% and bottling investments 16%.

The owner of Sprite and Smartwater says it has continued to make progress in establishing its networked organisational model, which became effective 1 January 2021.

The new structure has resulted in an approximate 11% net reduction in roles, excluding the Bottling Investments and Global Ventures operating.

James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, said: “The progress we made in 2020, including the actions taken to accelerate the transformation of our company, gives us confidence in returning to growth in the year ahead.”

“While near-term uncertainty remains, we are well-positioned to emerge stronger from the crisis, driven by our purpose and our beverages for life ambition.”

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