Majority of APAC consumers are more inclined towards traditional flavors of alcoholic beverages, says GlobalData

Nearly 53% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region like to stick to traditional flavors of alcoholic beverages, whereas 22% and 21% of them prefer unusual and new flavors, respectively. With the traditional and familiar flavors remaining the most preferred choices by the APAC consumers, it is lucrative for the already-popular brands, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s 2019 Q4 consumer survey results reveal that traditional flavors are here to stay; however, the new and usual flavors will also make some waves in the APAC beverage industry. In the soft drinks industry, consumers seem to be more open to experiment with novel and unusual flavors, which is generally not the case observed in alcoholic beverages and hot drinks categories.

Shagun Sachdeva, Consumer Insights Analyst, says: “Flavor is one of the most prioritized elements for the APAC consumers when it comes to food and drinks shopping. However, manufacturers are watchful of the consumer lifestyle shifts and emerging themes to address cross-category needs of the consumers. Manufacturers are taking sensory experience to a whole new level and the exciting flavors and seasonal offerings will keep the beverage market from stagnating.”

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Shagun adds: “With rapid expansion of bars, clubs and pubs culture along higher spending on alcoholic beverages, consumers are faced with a myriad of alcoholic beverage options, often leaving them confused and eventually they go for tried-and-tested and preferred ones. However, in the long run, we can expect the trend to change as manufacturers are trying to market their product with better formulation to the right audience to encourage consumption.”

In countries such as Japan, which have more experimental consumers compared to the other countries, consumers stick to more traditional and familiar flavors. As per the GlobalData survey results, 60% of Japanese consumers prefer traditional flavors while 40% go for new and novel ones in alcoholic beverages.

Shagun continues: “At the same time, APAC being such a diverse region, not everyone responds to a new innovation launch in the same way, so giving a product appeal on other fronts, such as flavor, is crucial. To appeal to these consumers, a strong and positive sampling experience is critical while promoting new flavors.

“Soft drinks manufacturers need to be mindful of the needs of their health-conscious target audience, who are looking for less sweet and more refreshing formulations. Classic example to quote would be ‘Red Bull’ launching watermelon flavor energy drink in South Australia made with sugar sourced from sugar beets and Alpine water, combined with the flavors of watermelon.

“However, there is a difference between successfully creating and selling soft drinks as manufacturers need to understand consumers’ relationship with various flavors and their color psychology. Even the cola giants such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo failed to resonate with consumers.”

For example, Pepsi Blue was discontinued in some countries in APAC region. In addition, Mountain Dew, popular for wacky flavors, introduced Sangrita Blast with cherry pomegranate flavors, has not worked well in the market. Shagun concludes: “Over the last few years, we have seen some very interesting new product developments across all beverage categories, which implies that brands are not just focused on developing new and more unusual flavors and combinations, but also reinventing classics with novel twists.”

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