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Insight of the Day: Pepsi lost the cola wars to Coke. Why is it struggling to hold on to second place?

Pepsi's Struggle to Maintain Second Place: A Summary


  • Dr Pepper surpassed Pepsi in US sales volume in 2023, taking the second spot behind Coca-Cola.

  • Pepsi's market share has been declining, while Dr Pepper has experienced growth thanks to its focus on unique flavors and appeal to younger consumers.

  • The overall soda market is shrinking due to health concerns and shifting consumer preferences.

  • PepsiCo's diverse portfolio, which includes snacks and other beverages, might be a factor in its lack of public response to the sales decline.

Key Takeaway:

The cola wars are evolving, with changing consumer preferences, declining soda consumption, and the rise of flavored soft drinks reshaping the landscape.


  • Health-conscious consumers are shifting away from sugary sodas towards healthier alternatives.

  • Younger generations are drawn to more diverse and unique flavors in their beverages.

  • PepsiCo is diversifying its portfolio to focus on snacks and other beverages besides soda.

  • Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper remain focused on the beverage market, capitalizing on the trend towards flavored soft drinks.


  • Pepsi's decline in market share is not necessarily a sign of failure, as the company is strategically focusing on its broader portfolio.

  • Dr Pepper's rise to second place reflects its successful targeting of younger demographics and flavored soda trends.

  • The soda market is undergoing significant changes, with health concerns and evolving tastes driving consumer choices.

Implications for Brands:

  • Beverage companies need to adapt to changing consumer preferences by offering healthier and more diverse flavor options.

  • Diversification of product portfolios can help companies mitigate risks associated with declining soda consumption.

  • Brands should focus on targeted marketing strategies to reach specific demographics and capitalize on emerging trends.

  • Innovation and staying ahead of consumer preferences will be crucial for success in the evolving beverage market.


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