At-Home Soda Machine Sales Surge 30% as Users Tailor Drinks

At-home soda machines are catching on with Americans.

U.S. retail sales of home soda machines soared 30 percent last year, and sales of the accompanying products -- CO2 carbonators, bottles, mixes and syrups -- more than doubled, according to NPD Group Inc., a market researcher. The firm didn’t provide dollar figures.

The machines are popular with consumers because they offer the convenience of customizing beverages on demand, while saving money and helping the environment, said Debra Mednick, home industry analyst for NPD. Increased sales of the CO2 carbonators, which more than tripled in 2013, are a good indication that consumers are continuing to invest in, and use, soda making machines, the firm said.

“This has momentum,” Mednick said in a phone interview today. “It has a fun factor. It’s so customizable that you can even choose the level of carbonization.”

Beverage makers can offset the decline in overall consumption of traditional soda by introducing new products that capitalize on the at-home trend, Mednick said. For retailers, the consumer’s need to repeatedly buy the accompanying products drives traffic into the stores, she said.

The best-known home soda machines are made by SodaStream International Ltd., a Lod, Israel-company that has been working to maintain its growth in part with marketing that sets itself apart from bottled-beverage companies such as Coca-Cola Co.

SodaStream Growth

The company recently hired actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman, and her first ad for the company featured her touting the benefits of a SodaStream machine and apologizing to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc.

SodaStream’s annual revenue growth will shrink this year to 14 percent from 29 percent in 2013, analysts estimate on average, amid an increase in competitors in the home soda machine market.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. sells an exclusive penguin-shaped SodaStream machine for $199.95. Macy’s Inc. sells $99.99 to $179.99 versions. Cuisinart and Hamilton Beach are among the other brands that produce them.

SodaStream’s 60-liter (16 gallons) carbonator spare cylinders cost $44.95. It also produces a wide variety of syrup flavors from Kool-Aid to energy drinks to sparkling teas to cocktail mixers. Flavor syrup bottles that make about 33 cans cost $4.99 to $6.99.

Sales of syrups and mixes for home soda machines soared 83 percent last year, with regular and diet soda at the top of the list, NPD said. Sales of flavored water options grew the most, almost tripling, the Port Washington, New York-based firm said.

The home soda maker category is “still in its infancy with relatively low household penetration,” Mednick said in a statement. “The potential of these machines is contingent upon broadening the category’s appeal with a wider variety of uses and offerings, ease of obtaining the consumables, and price.”

Coca-Cola last month said agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. and help market its new single-serve home soda appliance that debuts later this year.

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