Thums Up, India’s home-grown soft drink brand has hit a decade-high market share of 20%, according to an Economic Times report. As per July – August 2022 NielsenIQ data, the popular soft drink brand has hit a decade-high in terms of market share.
Driven by its ‘Soft Nahin, TOOFAN’ campaign, Thums Up has witnessed almost double-digit growth year-on-year that led the brand to top the Rs.50,000-crore packaged carbonated soft drinks market in the country, according to Arnab Roy, vice-president and head of marketing at Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia.
Thums Up, owned by the Coca-Cola Company, had crossed $1 billion in annual sales in India in 2021 and is the only brand in Coca-Cola India’s portfolio to cross $1 billion in sales.
What Boosted Thums Up’s Growth? A Brief History of Market Dominance
Coca-Cola exited the Indian market in 1977, Thums Up dominated the market share in the soft drink sector. When Coca-Cola re-entered the market in 1993, it saw Thums Up as its main competitor with the latter already having capture more than 80% market share. Pepsi, regarded as the main rival of Coke, was a distant number two.
So, when Coca-Cola arrived, most Indian marketers thought that this would be the end of Thums Up, but little did they know that the tables had already turned and how.
In all these years, during Coca-Cola’s absence, Thums Up had already created an identity of its own. The acute strategy of not copying Coke in flavour or branding and capitalising on the home-grown ‘desi’ factor, The tangy, strong and spicy flavour of the soft drink added the zing factor. Whether it’s Biryani or Kebab or a beverage to mix hard drinks, Thums Up was a constant; primarily due to its spicy flavour that goes well with Indian palette and cuisine – a uniqueness that its counterparts lacked. Soon it became a staple in Indian households.
Add to that, campaigns like – ‘Taste the Thunder’ – that mirrored spicier and stronger flavour was an instant hit among the youth, mainly among the male population due to its masculine appeal. The stats have changed since with more women consumers joining the Thums Up fanclub bandwagon.
What Thums Up did Right?
Here’s what the brand did right:
Never copied its competitors
Built an identity of its own via unique flavour and campaigns that resonated with the masses
Capitalised on the absence of Coca-Cola in the Indian market
Consistent positioning as a strong and masculine brand since its inception
Thums Up market share reaching decade-high shows the brand’s dominance in the soft drink space. It’s the only Coca-Cola Co. brand that has crossed $1 billion in sales. It’s fascinating how a desi brand took over international players and dominated without batting an eye.
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