A STUDY OF CONSUMER PREFERENCE OF SOFT DRINK BEVERAGES IN ENUGU METROPOLIS AND NINTH MILE CORNER NGWO A CASE STUDY OF COKE, SPRITE AND PEPSI COLA.

A STUDY OF CONSUMER PREFERENCE OF SOFT DRINK BEVERAGES IN ENUGU METROPOLIS AND NINTH MILE CORNER NGWO A CASE STUDY OF COKE, SPRITE AND PEPSI COLA.

ABSTRACT

This research work is a study of consumer brand preference for soft drink beverage drinks in Enugu metropolises. A case study of coke, sprite, Pepsi cola and Seven-up the products of Nigerian bottling company plc and Seven-up bottling company plc—the two giants in non alcoholic beverage industry the world over. However, the study investigated into most of the main factors responsible for the preference of one brand of product over another. Hence, price, constant availability, promotion {advertising}, role of middlemen, attitude of the sales personnel, etc as they affect brand preference were explored. To achieve this, two tentative hypotheses were made to guide the researcher in the course of exploring the subject. The researcher made use of both primary and secondary sources for data used. Hence, the responses of respondents as contained in the questionnaires distributed, the present and past records of Nigerian bottling company plc and that of Seven-up bottling company plc as related to the literature of this study, Marketing textbooks, journals, magazines and unpublished research works of some scholars.   Furthermore, in the methodology, the researcher made use of method of research, determination of population and sample size, sapling technique, instrumentation, validation and reliability of instruments, method of administration of instruments, and method of data analysis to obtain reliable information with regards to the study. Survey via interview using questionnaires was carried out with the Sales executives or managers of Nigerian bottling company plc and that of Seven-up bottling company plc, the distributors and consumers of soft drink beverages in Enugu metropolises. Data collected were consequently analyzed using tables, pie charts, and bar charts. Thereafter, the hypotheses formulated were statistically tested by the use of Binomial test. The following results were accepted after the test; -that there is no significant different in the extent to which coke and sprite were consumed in comparison with Pepsi cola and    Seven-up. -that the price of coke and sprite are significantly higher than that of Pepsi cola and seven-up. Based also the findings which were discussed, some recommendations were made. They include: {1} that competition on {coke + sprite} and {Pepsi + seven-up} be re-dressed for the survival and continuous preference of the products by the consumers.  {2} that the distribution system or network of Seven-up bottling company plc should be maintained while that of Nigerian bottling company plc should be addressed. {3} that more emphasis should be laid on consumer education or re-orientation on the real or true nature of soft drink beverage as the notion that soft drink is an antidote or performance enhancing drug by majority of the consumers are hazardous to health.  {4} that middlemen handling the products especially coke and sprite should as a matter of seriousness be more reliable in their dealing with the consumers.   {5} that since consumer’s preference of a product is very essential to any firm or company, Nigerian bottling company plc and Seven-up bottling company plc should do everything possible to ensure that the consumers of their respective soft drink beverages are always happy and satisfied. This they can achieve via consumer education, favourable prices, sports promotions and sponsorships, cultural and academic promotions, and other social responsibilities. Finally, the researcher made some suggestions for further research in the areas based mainly on the scope of the study and issues therein, thus: – A comparative study of consumer brand preference for soft drink beverages in Enugu metropolises; A case study of coke, sprite, fanta, pepsi cola, seven-up, merinda etc. – Effect of competition on coke + sprite and Pepsi + seven-up. – Effect of distribution on coke + sprite and Pepsi + seven-up loyalty. – Effect of price in competitive marketing. – Effect of promotion on brand preference of consumers. – Impact of middlemen in positioning coke + sprite and Pepsi + seven- up. – Effect of reference group on brand preference of consumers.