Despite declining soft drink consumption in other age categories, the latest figures from Roy Morgan Research show that consumption of Coca-Cola branded (and other) soft drinks increased year-on-year among a key segment, under-25 Australians.

The research comes as energy drinks increase their share of the market, several weeks after Coca-Cola Amatil posted disappointing full year sales with key brands losing share in supermarket and convenience channels, as it gears up to cater for consumer demand for lower sugar, healthier beverages.

According to the Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) survey for 2013 and 2014, last year 56% of Australians aged 14-24 drank at least one soft drink in an average seven-day period, up from 53% in 2013.

The market leading Coca-Cola brand includes sub-brands Diet Coke, Vanilla Coke and Coke Zero. Thirty-eight percent of 14-24 year olds drank at least one Coca Cola-branded soft drink in an average seven days (up from 35% in 2013), with year-on-year increases for Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Vanilla Coke.

In contrast, 25-34 year-olds showed the most consumption decline for soft drinks generally and the Coke brand. In 2013, 56% consumed at least one soft drink in any given seven days, which fell to 53% in 2014, while those consuming Coca-Cola soft drinks in an average seven days went from 41% to 37%.

The proportion of Australians aged 35-49 drinking soft drinks in an average week fell from 55% to 54%, with a marked decline in their Coca-Cola drinking (37% to 34%).

The 50+ demographic remained stable at 40%, with those drinking Coca-Cola barely changing (20% to 19% year-on-year).

Angela Smith, group account director, Roy Morgan Research, said that it is imperative for soft drink manufacturers to have a detailed understanding of their consumers in order to fully understand and profit from these rapidly changing market trends.

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