soft drinks market: Soft drinks market: Thums Up hits a decade-high market share of 20%

Thums Up, the home-grown cola brand that tops the ₹50,000-crore packaged carbonated soft drinks market in the country, has hit a decade-high market share of 20%, two industry executives said, citing July-August 2022 data sourced from NielsenIQ.

Arnab Roy, vice-president and head, marketing at Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said Thums Up has grown in double digits year on year, powered by its ‘soft drink Nahin, Toofan’ campaign among other factors.

“While we wouldn’t be able to comment on specific brand shares, Thums Up has strengthened its market share lead over competing brands in the last 18 months,” Roy said. Social commentator and brand specialist Santosh Desai said a combination of factors has helped the home-grown fizzy drink to remain continuously ahead of global brands including Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

“Thums Up has had a distinct and consistent positioning all these years of being a strong and masculine brand, its taste goes very well with the Indian palette and spicy cuisine, and it has had a strong loyal consumer base in key markets even during the early days when it wasn’t advertised much,” Desai said. “Many other rival fizzy drink brands have not had that one distinct identity…something Thums Up has,” he added.

While Thums Up has been the category leader among carbonated drinks for some years now, the brand is currently enjoying its biggest lead in the category and is ahead of rivals in volume sales and market share. Top four soft drinks brands in the country at present include three Coca-Cola Company brands – Thums Up, Sprite and Coca-Cola – in addition to PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew, executives mentioned above said, citing NielsenIQ’s data. Brand Pepsi has slipped with its category market share at less than 5%, the executives said.

A PepsiCo spokesperson said as a policy, the company does not comment on share numbers, and added the first half of 2022 has been one of its “best ever” performances for its beverages portfolio. A NielsenIQ spokesperson in an email revert said, “We cannot share, verify or validate market share information for specific brands owing to client confidentiality policies.”

Thums Up crossed $1 billion in annual sales in India in 2021, driven by focused marketing and execution plans, Coca-Cola global chief executive James Quincey had announced in a post earnings call in February 2022. It is the only brand in Coca-Cola India’s portfolio to cross $1 billion in sales. An advertising agency executive said its stronger taste compared to other fizzy drinks, and taglines such as ‘Taste the thunder’ and ‘Toofan’, have worked in favor of Thums Up.

The brand launched the action-packed ‘Toofan’ campaign with actor Shah Rukh Khan, cricketer Jasprit Bumrah, and Telugu actor Vijay Deverakonda ahead of this summer season. Other recent marketing push for the brand included worldwide partnerships with the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games, and the ICC T20 World Cup.

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