GlobalData forecasts China's volumes of low-calorie beverages to see growth rate of 11.3% in 2023, compared to 2.2% in US, where soft drinks market is more developed; in 2022, low-calorie market share in soft drinks sector was 17% in US and 2.4% in China

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May 8, 2023 (press release) –

As Chinese consumers are more focused on healthier beverages compared to their US counterparts, the country is witnessing a significant rise in consumer low-calorie soft drinks, Low-calorie soft drinks volumes increased at a triple-digit rate in China between 2019-2022, while the volumes grew by only 10% in the US, finds GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Global Data forecasts that in China, the volumes of low-calorie beverages will record a positive growth rate of 11.3% in 2023, while in the US, it will be 2.2%, albeit the US soft drinks market is much more mature and developed. The low-calorie market share in the soft drinks sector was 17% in the US in 2022, while it was 2.4% in China.

Dragos Dumitrachi, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments:  “Since 2019, boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health trend in the soft drinks sector has accelerated across the globe. In 2022, the world saw China and the US clash on multiple fronts. In the soft drinks consumer market, a similar opposing evolution scenario is taking place between the two countries.”

The carbonates category is the biggest winner regarding the growth of low-calorie beverages. Major brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are continuing to invest in low-calorie variants and the trend is picking up globally. In China, low-calorie volumes are forecast to increase by 13.1% between 2022-2023, while the US will record a minimal 1.5% rise in volume.

According to a recent GlobalData consumer survey*, when asked which feature consumers are actively looking for when making a purchase, a significantly higher proportion of Chinese consumers (49%) said it is essential for the product to be good for physical fitness/health, while in the US, only 29% find it essential.

Dumitrachi concludes: “This data shows that since the outbreak of the pandemic, whilst both markets show a high level of innovation towards low-calorie launches, Chinese consumers are more concerned with making informative health decisions within the beverage space in comparison to US consumers. Manufacturers in China and the US are set to increase the number of launches to capitalize on this trend throughout 2023.”

* GlobalData Q3 2022 Consumer Survey – China consisted of 532 respondents

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