NEW YORK - American drinking habits have shifted dramatically over the last decade, Reuters reports, with soft drinks yielding sales to bottled water, energy drinks and alcohol.
While soft drinks comprised nearly a third of American€™s beverage diet throughout the 1990s, in the past ten years, soda consumption has dropped 16% while consumption of bottled water has increased more than 50% and energy drinks, 100%.
"Soft drinks peaked around 1998," said Thomas Mullarkey, an analyst from Morningstar. The big winners in the last decade have been bottled waters, sports drinks, wines and then spirits, "which have picked up a quarter of a gallon per person in the last decade."
Mullarkey said the total liquid consumed by Americans is roughly a zero-sum number. As a result, consumption of soft drinks was swapped with healthier alternatives like bottled water, while beer was swapped with wine and spirits.
"You're seeing that the consumer is taking a healthier look and having more alternatives [than soda], such as tea, and coconut water," he said, "but also, Americans have aged, and soft drinks are most popular among teenagers and twentysomethings."
While soda and beer companies have therefore seen slumping sales in the U.S., the overseas market has picked up the slack.
Coca-Cola€™s sales in India and China are rising sharply, while developing economies like the BRICs and Turkey are opting for more beer (and spirits).