Fears that the Earth's surface will soon be one contiguous pile of spent K-Cups can dissipate: New sales figures show yet another drop in Keurig's sales. This week, the company reported it sold 7 percent fewer machines during the final months of 2015. The holiday gift-giving season is critical for the company, and this was the sixth quarter in a row to report declining sales. All told, net sales of machines dropped $60.3 million below last year's, and that's not even the worst of it: Sales of K-Cups (which account for 80 percent of Keurig's total sales) also sank by 6 percent in 2015, adding another $62.2 million in sales declines.
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The company's stocks have decreased by more than 40 percent, ever since hitting a record high in 2014, though Keurig's demise would make for a story as incredible as pod coffee's takeover, one of the craziest successes of modern times, considering that the sales of single-serve coffee exploded by 133,170 percent between 2000 and 2014. Keurig cooked its own goose here, it seems: Its commitment to ecofriendly recyclable pods was painfully slow-moving. Then it went all DRM on competitors with the release of Keurig 2.0, a widely loathed (but totally still hackable) follow-up machine that rejected third-party pods. And its insistence on slowly becoming more Soylent-esque in its offerings only reminds consumers how unnatural everything is that comes out of these pods, making even Starbucks look reasonably fresh by comparison.
Speaking of which, Starbucks recently dropped the bomb that it might launch its own coffee-pod line. Right now its K-Cups are some of Keurig's best sellers, but CEO Howard Schultz told investors that while Starbucks is in the single-serve business "to stay," the question they're asking themselves is "whether we will be doing so in conjunction with Keurig or on our own."
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