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Soft Drinks

Are soft drinks really seasonal?

How does your soft drinks strategy change between winter and summer? Or do you use the same merchandising planogram year in, year out? We’ve dug into the data to serve up some ideas for you to consider for your store.

The question we’ve set out to answer is: “What parts of my soft drinks range should I be focusing on in winter, so that I’m not carrying excess stock of products that don’t sell well in winter, but at the same time not miss out on potential winter sales?” At the same time this knowledge positively impacts summer sales because we know how to switch our focus for the main soft drinks sales season.

We examined the percentage of sales generated by the different types of soft drinks in both Winter and Summer. We’ve looked a bit deeper to see which sub category sales change the most between the seasons on average across all stores. We’ve then looked at the change in share of spend depending on pack format.

For the purposes of this analysis, summer is the 1st of June to the 31st August - winter is the 1st December to the 28th February. Average store sales for soft drinks in the winter period dropped by over £4,000 compared to the previous summer .

Due to the record high temperatures seen last summer, average store sales rose by around £7,500 compared to the previous winter. This is an increase per store of over £3,000 compared to summer 2021. In winter, Sports & Energy Drinks and Cola continue to sell well (compared to their share of sales in summer.)

Seasonal Average Sales Per Store
Average Store Spend Change Versus Previous Season

Winter spend change is the percentage difference in average spend per store in winter 2021/2 compared to summer 2021 and summer spend change is the percentage difference in average spend per store in summer 2022 compared to winter 2021/2.

Seasonal Change

When we compare the average spend, the greatest change between summer and winter is seen in sales of Water and the smallest change between summer and winter is Cola. This means that Water sales are heavily influenced by warm weather. Cola sales are more consistent throughout the year and less influenced by warmer weather.

In winter, Sports & Energy Drinks and Cola increase their share of spend of total soft drinks (compared to their share in summer) which means they continue to sell well even though other soft drink sales may slow down.

In summer, Water, Juice & Juice Drinks and Non-Cola Carbonates increase their share of spend (compared to their share in winter) Sales of these drinks are influenced by warmer weather.

Pack Format

During summer 2021, two thirds of soft drink spend was attributed to formats for immediate consumption (ie single serve cans and bottles). This is more extreme during the hot summer last year, when immediate consumption's share of total spend increased to 70%. In winter 2021, this dropped meaning there were more larger pack formats being purchased – this is probably because people are more likely to buy drinks to be served at home, perhaps as mixers.

Carbonated drinks and Juice & Juice Drinks saw the biggest variations between seasons due to the different pack formats. Sports & Energy Drinks saw little change as most formats are for immediate consumption.

Water also continued to sell in singles, showing that pack format is less dependent on season, and shoppers consistently purchase single portions of water.

What does this mean for my store?

You should always have single serve Cola and Water available in a prominent space. As Summer approaches you may want to stock up on single portion water as sales will rise as the temperature goes up. When the weather cools down, multi-pack servings of carbonated drinks and juice become more popular – so you might consider pulling this stock forward – especially during the holidays when people will be taking them to parties or stocking up for the home.

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