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Coca-Cola, PepsiCo level India’s energy drink playing field: report

Sting and Thums Up Charged Berry Bolt are amongst the products that dominate India. 

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are expected to level the playing field of India’s energy drink, GlobalData reported. 

PepsiCo’s Sting is a gamechanger in the industry even as it was not seen initially as a challenger to Red Bull. Sting was worth $0.63 per 250ml can when it launched in 2017, against Red Bull’s $1.38 per 250ml can. 

It later dropped its price to $0.25, in line with its “mass affordable” strategy in 2020. This led to Red Bull’s sales to drop by 21% annually in 2020, which was also an impact of the pandemic. 

“Even as Red Bull’s supplies resumed, Sting’s march was unstoppable, and it saw a 440% jump in the brand’s volume sales in 2021,” Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, said. 

“As the Indian energy drinks market grew eightfold during 2017-2021, Sting’s volume share also skyrocketed from 2.5% in 2017 to a whopping 86% by 2021.”

Read more: Reliance Retail may bring India’s first major carbonates private label

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola has entered the energy drinks market with its Thums Up Charged Berry Bolt early this year. Charged also has a red formulation color, packaging label, the 250ml PET bottle pack, worth $0.25. 

GlobalData noted  that as Charged and Sting share nearly similar features in terms of caffeine content and calorie count, Sting enjoys the early bird advantage. Despite this, both brands have nabbed the endorsement of leading Bollywood celebrities, leaving the competition down  to the taste. 

“Both Sting and Charged will benefit from the considerable R&D, distribution, and marketing prowess of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. In the long term, the competition will only accelerate the growth of the mainstream energy drinks segment,” he said. 

“This can put the niche energy drinks category on a level playing field with the carbonates category, which contributed nearly 20% of the overall soft drinks volumes in India in 2021.”


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