The main impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sales of carbonates in Thailand during 2020 was the dramatic shift seen in consumer demand away from the foodservice channel as the government-mandated shutdown of the country’s entire hospitality industry removed the option for on-trade service. This left restaurants, cafés and other foodservice establishments with only takeaway and delivery services on offer.
In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, another major factor piling further pressure on demand for soft drinks during 2020 was the ongoing furore surrounding the high sugar content of these products. With many consumers seeking to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets due to increasing knowledge of the serious health implications of excessive sugar consumption, the category faced pressure on demand for much of the review period.
Some of the types of carbonates that are most often consumed as mixers for alcoholic drinks, including ginger ale, tonic water and other bitters, faced a particularly difficult year during 2020 as the closure of nightclubs, late-night bars and various other on-trade venues where alcohol is served at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic placed considerable pressure on demand. Furthermore, these types of on-trade venues also tend to attract a lot of foreign tourists and thus the very slow year seen in the Thai travel and tourism industry due to the closure of the country’s borders to foreigners during 2020 also hit sales of these products hard.
Despite the negative volume growth that was seen in both on-trade and off-trade sales of carbonates due to the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020, the category’s leading brands have continued to focus on core marketing strategies to support sales growth at a time of pressure on demand. Media advertising has remained a core focus, with promotional campaigns and discount pricing in retail outlets also a common method for pushing demand.
Cola carbonates is a category in which competition is far more intense than non-cola carbonates and in keeping with this, the leading players in cola carbonates tend to be far more aggressive in their approach to marketing. Indeed, the promotional campaigns of major brands such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Est are expected to become even more intense during the forecast period as they seek to overcome the sluggish demand which has emerged from the slowdown seen in the Thai economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Private label emerged as one of the big winners from the COVID-19 situation in Thailand during 2020. The value for money that private label has a well-deserved reputation for stood the country’s leading chained grocery retailers in good stead as they were able to focus consumer attention on their private label lines throughout the year, especially during the periods of stockpiling that was seen during the early stages of the pandemic.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Carbonates industry in Thailand with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Carbonates research and analysis database.
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