The cola war has begun afresh. Coca-Cola India today claimed that it has increased its market share from 57 per cent in the carbonated soft drink category in 2001 to 61 per cent at the end of December 2002, as per ORG-Marg figures.
Pepsi, however, contested the figures by saying that its market share stood at 47.6 per cent during the same period and Coca-Cola India had a combined market share of only 52.4 per cent, as per IMRB figures.
In a release issued by Coca-Cola, the company said that it owns four of the top five soft drink brands in India.
PepsiCo, however, said that Pepsi cola has ended the year 2002 with 24 per cent of the soft drinks market thus continuing to be the single largest soft drink brand in India.
Pepsi added that the brand Pepsi has a market share equal to the collective market share of three international soft drink brands owned by Coca-Cola India.
These brands include Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite with individual market shares of 13.9 per cent, 6 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.
The Pepsi statement said while PepsiCo ended 2002 with 47.6 per cent share of the soft drink market in India, Coca-Cola ended the year with its international brands clocking a market share of 26.7 per cent and its brands formerly owned by Parle garnering 25.7 per cent at the end of December 2002.
While commenting on the performance of the CSD category, Coca-Cola India claimed that it has the its sales grew by 23 per cent.
It added that during the year, its packaged water brand -- Kinley -- became the largest selling brand with 37 per cent market share.
Coca-Cola India division president Alex von Behr said: "The rural initiatives for CSDs, driving affordability through lower price points and strengthening distribution to make our products available in new markets, proved to be a great success, thus substantially expanding the consumer base."He added that the Coca-Cola brand has the highest brand preference amongst CSDs, while Thums Up is poised to become the largest CSD in the country.