8 Things I Learned From Coca-Cola’s Q4 2022 Earnings Call

Who doesn’t love a refreshing glass of Coca-Cola on a hot summer day? As one of the most iconic brands in the world, Coca-Cola has a loyal following and a reputation for delivering consistent results. Recently, the company held its Q4 2022 earnings call, and there were a few surprising takeaways that may interest Coke fans and investors alike. From shifting marketing tactics, global pricing strategies to international market trends, here are the eight things you need to know from Coca-Cola’s Q4 2022 earnings call. So sit back, crack open a cold Coke, and read on!


  • Global Unit Case Volume Declined 1% for the Quarter and Grew 5% for the Full Year
  • Net Revenues Grew 7% for the Quarter and 11% for the Full Year; Organic Revenues (Non-GAAP)   Grew 15% for the Quarter and 16% for the Full Year
  • Operating Income Grew 24% for the Quarter and 6% for the Full Year; Comparable Currency Neutral Operating Income (Non-GAAP) Grew 21% for the Quarter and 19% for the Full Year
  • Fourth Quarter EPS Declined 16% to $0.47, and Comparable EPS (Non-GAAP) Was Even at $0.45; Full-Year EPS Declined 3% to $2.19, and Comparable EPS (Non-GAAP) Grew 7% to $2.48
  • Cash Flow from Operations Was $11.0 Billion for the Full Year, Down 13%; Full-Year Free Cash Flow (Non-GAAP) Was $9.5 Billion, Down 15%
  • The company expects to deliver organic revenue (non-GAAP) growth of 7% to 8% for FY 2023.

Reflections on Coca-Cola’s Q4 and 2022 Performance

Despite the challenges posed by inflation, geopolitical tensions, pandemic-related mobility restrictions, and currency volatility, consumer demand remained robust, and the industry stayed strong. The company continued to focus on its growth strategy, and its agility allowed it to navigate the challenging environment and deliver 15% organic revenue growth in Q4. While the suspension of its business in Russia and the impact on consumption driven by varying levels of pandemic-related mobility restrictions and the surge in COVID cases in China offset the robust volume growth across many markets, the company maintained consistent volume growth relative to 2019 throughout 2022.

Operating Differently and Well-Equipped for the Future

Coca-Cola is confident in its ability to deliver its 2023 guidance and is well-equipped for a future that continues to be volatile and uncertain. The company is operating differently today, with a streamlined portfolio of global and local brands and stepped-up consumer-facing investments that continue to fuel the competitive edge of the Coca-Cola system to deliver value in any environment. The company’s network organizational structure enables its strategy, with its operating units, functions, and platform services organization connected for strong end-to-end coordination, which helps it identify key opportunities for meaningful long-term growth. On top of this, the company remains well-aligned with its bottling partners, which further builds on its strength as a network system.

Examples of Leveraging Enhanced Capabilities to Win Locally

Coca-Cola has seen many examples of harnessing its enhanced capabilities to win locally throughout 2022. The company’s new marketing model is working, with occasions and passion points linked to driving engagement. The company is experimenting to optimize marketing, driving deeper connections with consumers and reaching them in unique and new ways. Coca-Cola is tying its beverages to consumption occasions and engaging consumers through local experiences. For example, in Vietnam, to support the reopening of away-from-home accounts, the company launched the pilot of the “Coke is Cooking” campaign, partnering with more than 700 food shops. The campaign resulted in more than 1 million combo transactions and a 20% uplift for participating merchants.

In Latin America, Coca-Cola’s live music strategy created memorable in-person and digital experiences, elevating consumer engagement. The company partnered with Rock in Rio, one of the biggest music festivals in the world, and created new opportunities for consumers to access content through live streams and in the Metaverse. As a result, the company boosted its reach from approximately 700,000 attendees to more than 45 million consumers across the region. Its sales inside the festival increased by 23% versus the last festival.

Question and Answer

Lauren Lieberman from Barclays asked for more information about the company’s outlook for top-line growth in 2023. Specifically, she asks how the year’s 7% to 8% revenue growth target compares to the mid-teens growth achieved in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey responded by saying that the company is confident about its ability to drive top-line growth in 2023. He starts by providing some context from 2022, noting that the company saw steady volume growth throughout the year, including the fourth quarter. He explained that while the company reported a headline number -1% volume growth in Q4, this was largely due to the suspension of operations in Russia and COVID restrictions in China. Quincey argued that when you look at volume growth over 3 years, there is a consistent growth momentum that has continued into the beginning of 2023.

Quincey then said that the company has achieved this growth momentum through its focus on marketing, innovation, revenue growth management (RGM), and execution to accommodate the need for affordability and premiumization in the face of inflation. He noted that the company expects both inflation and its live-pricing RGM to moderate as 2023 progresses, partly because input costs inflation is moderating and because the company will begin to cycle some of the price increases from 2022.

Quincey believes this will result in revenue growth more in line with the levels achieved in the latter part of 2022. He anticipates that the organic growth rate will moderate as the year progresses, and the company will close out on more normalized revenue growth, resulting in the 7% to 8% target.

Lauren Lieberman from Barclays asked a follow-up question about unit case volume and price/mix growth.

Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey stated that the company expects to see a balance of growth between unit cases and price/mix on an ongoing basis. He explained that the exact balance will depend on factors such as inflation and consumer behavior.

Despite the uncertain environment, Quincey is confident that the company can continue to drive unit case growth in the second half of 2023, combined with moderating price/mix to achieve organic growth. He notes that the company focuses on executing its plan and leveraging its pricing and packaging strategies to support affordability worldwide and maintain consumer loyalty.

Overall, Quincey’s responses suggest that the company is taking a cautious but optimistic approach to its growth outlook for 2023 and is well-positioned to manage potential headwinds while continuing to deliver value to shareholders.

Kaumil Gajrawala from Credit Suisse asked about the impact of the retail environment on price increases across consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories.

Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey responded by explaining that their strategy is to earn the right to price by delivering value to consumers through marketing, innovation, pricing and packaging, and execution. They believe owning their pricing through creating value will sustain the pricing that input costs drive them towards. Additionally, by leading the beverage category to grow faster than their customers’ business, they can deliver more growth for their customers and be a disproportionate share of their revenue growth relative to other categories. While there may be pressure in the marketplace, Coca-Cola believes its consumer-centric approach will drive growth for its customers and help them maintain their pricing.

Bonnie Herzog from Goldman Sachs asked a question about the company’s plans for reinvestments this year compared to last year.

Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey emphasized that the company’s primary focus in 2023 will be to invest for growth. He stated that this strategy is consistent with what Coca-Cola has been doing in the past two years. However, he also noted that the company would be agile and dynamic in its resource allocation, depending on the feedback and data from the field. This means that the company is willing to adjust its investment strategy quickly if it sees that the allocation toward driving growth needs to be revised.

Quincey also acknowledged many uncertainties for 2023, including inflation, different pressures worldwide, and the speed of moderation. However, the company’s central view is that it will be growth-oriented with a balance between volume and price. Coca-Cola will continue to be biased towards growth and be fast and adaptable in the face of anything different.

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