Diversity in Strategies For Leading Soft Drinks Companies, Southeast Asia

June 2021

The diversity of consumer profiles in Southeast Asia has resulted in various strategies being adopted by both global and local soft drinks companies to appeal to local consumers. By analysing and evaluating the various strategies, such as launching healthier variants, appealing to affordability and investing in e-commerce, soft drinks companies can better understand which categories and markets to play in and expand.

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Key Findings

The diversity of consumers in Southeast Asian markets requires varying strategies from different players

Southeast Asia has varying consumer profiles that require companies to adopt different strategies in order to maintain strength in domestic markets or expand to new markets. While local companies’ strategies are typically more tailored towards the consumer segments in each market, global companies’ strategies are often shaped by global initiatives, with varying success across various markets.

Reformulation has been a focus area for global companies in recent years

For global companies, such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, reformulating their products, as well as introducing new products with low or no sugar, has been a focus in recent years. In addition to aligning with global strategies, rising health consciousness among consumers and the implementation of sugar tax in several countries has led to local companies reformulating their products too.

Focusing on the affordability of products is still important for local companies

A focus on affordable products remains a common strategy in order to address a large population in Southeast Asia with relatively low disposable incomes. This strategy has enabled some local companies to maintain their leadership, particularly in markets like Indonesia, often against global companies which have good penetration and strong brand equity.

E-commerce is gaining ground in soft drinks in the region

As the COVID-19 situation in Southeast Asia remains uncertain, the opportunity for e-commerce in Southeast Asia remains high. While the share of e-commerce in soft drinks distribution is currently still quite small, more players are pushing for a greater presence in this channel.

Opportunities for retail to bring flavours commonly found in foodservice

While recovery in the foodservice is expected, it remains a distant prospect. As such, bringing flavours that are typically found in foodservice to retail, particularly tea, could be an opportunity for players to regain some lost ground.

 

Introduction

Overview of Southeast Asia
Key findings

Soft Drinks Landscape in Southeast Asia

Soft drinks show strong growth over historic period before pandemic
Global beverage giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo lead in Southeast Asia
Highly fragmented soft drinks market landscape in Southeast Asia
Overview of Southeast Asia’s top 10 companies’ portfolios in soft drinks

Strategies Adopted by Leading Companies

Consumer profile key to understanding strategies adopted by companies
Immune support and legislation drive launch of healthier variants
Health: reformulation efforts by global companies
Health: other leading companies reformulate to have zero sugar variants
Health: no sugar is the key leading health claim for soft drinks companies
Health: Thai players tap into growing demand for immunity boost
Affordability remains important in emerging markets
Affordability: Wings Corp focuses on affordable products in Indonesia
Affordability: Tirta Fresindo Jaya’s expands presence with RTD coffee
Affordability: TC Pharmaceutical plays the volume game in energy drinks
Opportunity for e-commerce to grow in Southeast Asia
E-commerce: companies place greater focus on home consumption
E-commerce: Coca-Cola has a higher presence of carbonates SKUs

Evaluation of Companies’ Strategies

Focus on low-sugar beverages is likely to continue
Functional ingredients to differentiate from competing products
Recovery in foodservice expected, opportunities in retail remains
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