SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Korea Bizwire) – Carbonated drinks have enjoyed rising popularity in South Korea over the past three years as younger customers are drinking more soda with fast food and Westernized meals, industry data showed Wednesday.
The carbonated drink market was estimated at 936.2 billion won (US$856.1 million) in 2015, up from 848.6 billion won in 2013 and 884.1 billion won in 2014, the beverage industry data showed.
The market expanded 4.2 percent in 2014, and 5.9 percent in 2015, and rose 5.6 percent in the first five months of this year.
Sales of Chilsung Cider, a representative Korean drink made by Lotte Chilsung Co., rose 4 percent in the first half from a year earlier, Lotte’s beverage unit said.
Carbonated drinks sold well in large discount chains and convenience stores.
E-Mart, the nation’s largest discount chain, said sales of carbonated beverages increased 6.2 percent in the first half, while CU, the No. 1 convenience store chain, saw the corresponding figure jump 17.4 percent over the period.
Industry experts say sugar-sweetened sodas have been expanding their presence in line with the thriving delivery food market for small households and their cheap prices give them the competitive edge over other drinks.
“It is widely believed that consumers prefer cool, fresh beverages in a time of recession,” an official at CU said. “As the domestic economy remains in the doldrums, sales of carbonated drinks have been on steady rise over the past years.”