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Press Release: U.S. Liquid Refreshment Beverage Market Retail Dollars and Volume Growth Slowed Slightly in 2019, Reports Beverage Marketing Corporation




Industry again sees solid growth across established and emerging beverage types with most categories growing in retail value

NEW YORK, NY, 1 June 2020: The U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market grew again in 2019, with retail sales increasing by 3.5% and volume by 1.4%, according to newly released preliminary data from Beverage Marketing Corporation. By both measures, the market grew more slowly than it had the year before. Beverage-specific factors, such as the ongoing expansion of the already large bottled water segment, as well as more general ones, such as (then) persisting economic growth, contributed to the overall increase in liquid refreshment beverage volume, which surpassed 34.3 billion gallons in 2019. With regard to retail sales, the market exceeded $186 billion, propelled both by the fast growth of small, niche segments as well as solid growth by bigger, established categories, including carbonated soft drinks. No segment of the liquid refreshment beverage market registered a decline in retail sales in 2019, although fruit beverages were essentially flat.

Bottled water, which topped carbonated soft drinks as the number-one beverage by volume in 2016, grew again in 2019. The category's core characteristics — convenient, healthful, natural and calorie-free — enduringly appeal to U.S. consumers. Volume enlarged by almost 4% and retail sales advanced by more than 5%.

Though still comparatively small in size, niche segments once again outperformed most traditional mass-market ones. With regards to both volume and dollars, value-added water, energy drinks and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee in particular moved forcefully in 2019. Value-added water charted an 8.5% increase in volume and a 10.6% increase in retail dollars. Energy moved up with rates in the high single digits, and RTD coffee also outperformed the overall market. Fruit beverages experienced a contraction in volume but retail dollars remained essentially the same as in the previous year. Carbonated soft drinks' retail dollar sales grew by 2.5% even as volume declined somewhat as beverage companies continued to downsize packages and introduce more no-sugar offerings in response to consumers' desire for less sugar.

Despite their notable growth, no energy drink, RTD coffee or value-added water brand ranked among the leading trademarks by volume. (No fruit beverage brand did either.)

Sports beverages, on the other hand, had Gatorade (including all brand variations) as the fifth largest liquid refreshment beverage trademark during the year with volume of nearly 1.2 billion gallons.

Carbonated soft drinks continued to account for four of the five top beverage brands by volume. Though retail sales continued on their upward trajectory, the category's volume was 12.1 billion gallons, down from 12.2 billion gallons in 2018. Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola retained their usual first and second positions among the 10 leading beverage trademarks in 2019, with Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper claiming third and fourth place. Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper both recorded modest volume growth during the year, while Sprite (ranked sixth) grew in line with the total liquid refreshment beverage market.

Bottled water had four entries among the leading trademarks in 2019, but each of them failed to grow as consumers turned to higher-end or value-priced brands.

Four companies accounted for all of the leading refreshment beverage trademarks. PepsiCo had four brands. Coca-Cola had three while Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) had two and Keurig Dr Pepper had one.

"The beverage market's solid growth in retail sales and volume demonstrates the industry's responsiveness to evolving consumer habits," said Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO, Beverage Marketing Corporation. "As relentless change has become the norm, continued growth by both measures represents a remarkable accomplishment."

New York City-based Beverage Marketing Corporation is the leading consulting, research and advisory services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry.


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