Coca-Cola HBC sees shifting trend in consumer needs

Coca-Cola HBC said in its 2015 Integrated Annual Report that tough macro-economic environment have brought about changes in the way consumers shop, according to research done by the company.

The Switzerland-based bottler of Coca-Cola products in 28 countries, including Nigeria said in its Annual Report that consumer behaviour have shifted towards small baskets for top-up shopping, rather than larger stock-up shops. It blames the shift on the effects of the global financial crisis.

Coca-Cola HBC has one of the most diversified territory in the Coca-Cola system – covering established markets (including Austria, Ireland and Greece), developing markets (including Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Poland) and emerging markets (including Nigeria, Russia and Ukraine).

The bottler said: “The global financial crisis seems to have led most countries to adjust to a rate of growth lower than pre-crisis levels, albeit with uneven trends.

“Established and developing markets are facing relatively high unemployment and deflation while emerging markets are impacted by lower oil and commodity prices and high currency-related inflation. Disposable income and corresponding household expenditure continue to be lackluster.

“The outlook for 2016 is positive, with expectations for growth exceeding 2015 levels and improvements anticipated in terms of both inflation and disposable income.”

CCHBC said the current macro-economic environment has caused many countries to shift towards “organized trade” such as discounters and supermarkets. The bottler suggests that sales in these outlets are growing faster than in traditional convenience stores.

To compete effectively, CCHBC will focus on smaller-sized packages and increased transactions.

CCHBC reports greater demand for low and no-calorie beverages in 2015. There is more focus on health and wellness by both consumers and governments.

Offering increased choice is one of the ways to address the changing market landscape, it says.

“We have also expanded our product portfolio to include water and juice brands to offer consumers options to support active, healthy lifestyles.

“Still drinks have increased from 10% of our volume in 2001 to 31% of our volume in 2015.”

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