In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company..."
- I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke
By LESTER CANTU
The Paz Files
HARLINGEN, Texas - The world of product manufacturing knows no better consumer than the American. In this country, one can pretty much get anything so long as one can pay for it. Cars are always at the top of the wish list, as are homes. Nice clothing, too. Same for the best of foods. This nation is Disneyland in so many ways that the make-belief wonderland barely scratches the surface of what pleases the citizenry.
Take Coca-Cola, for example. Everybody has one every now and then. Well, every American, according to 2010 data provided by the Atlanta-based company, drinks about 400 Cokes a year. Only Mexico, where every Mexican quaffs 625 Cokes a year, is ahead of the red, white and blue. It is heady business, this business of selling the world's most popular soft drink. Coca-Cola expects to earn roughly $11 billion this year from domestic and international sales. The company says it sells 1.7 billion beverages in a single day, or about 89 servings for everyone on the planet when you compute it on an annual basis.
Third in consumption is Spain, where every citizen drinks 284 Coca-Colas a year. Fourth is Brazil with 229 and France is fuifth with 143 per citizen.
But the company says its biggest recent gains have come from Russia and China, countries where Coca-Cola is relatively new as a store product. Russians are at 69 Cokes per citizen; China is at 34. India is ninth with 11. Overseas sales at present account for 43% of Coke's volume. Company officials are hoping that the Russians, Chinese and Indians will compete with America's per-capita consumption; that is, eventually approach the same amount of drinks per consumer.
There's more to the story, of course. The Wall Street Journal steadily reports that currency fluctuations affect the bottom line of American companies trading abroad. That stubborn financial crisis in Europe, as well as Chinese and Russian under-valuing of their currency, make it hard for companies to predict month-to-month revenues.
Yet, even with that, the upclose look at the company's world effort allow for both a peek at sales and expectations. Coca-Cola remains the number one soft drink across the globe, and perhaps that old jingle about wanting "to buy the world a Coke" will soon become a reality.
It's been 41 years since that television commercial aired in this country. When speaking about Americans doing business overseas, optimistic industry folks like to use a catch-phrase known to all companies - "mining the emerging markets..."
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