Energy drinks, including sports drinks, are gaining momentum at the expense of carbonated beverages, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
The report "Energy drinks in the US" forecasts the total US retail value, including products sold through foodservice channels, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent and reach $9.3bn by 2011.
While growth in this category has indeed been noteworthy, the market for these beverages still represents a small proportion of the entire beverage market and as such spells further opportunity for marketers to diversify into more functional niches.
"Energy drinks accounted for just two percent of all non-alcoholic beverages sold in IRI-tracked [Information Resources] channels in 2006, up from less than one percent in 2004," states the report. "But the phenomenal growth seen in recent years could continue, propelling energy drinks to capture a larger piece of the pie."
The market researcher estimates the total retail market value for energy drinks in the US stood at approximately $5.4bn in 2006, up 18 percent from $4.5bn in 2005. The market - which includes sales through food and drink service establishments - grew at a compound annual growth rate of 45 percent for the 2002 to 2006 period.
"Going forward, energy drink marketers should consider several growth areas and strategies, particularly targeted marketing," states the report.
Packaged Facts gives examples of such targeted marketing. It cites women, Hispanics and a growing aging population as key target groups.
The trick to marketing an energy drink has less to do with targeting active individuals than positioning it along the lines of an energetic personality type.
"The purchase of an energy drink brand brings the consumer close to the aura that is built around the brand," states the report. "Attractive and evocative packaging, guerrilla tactics and other alternative marketing practices will be important tools for marketing the nature of energy drink brands."
Functionally-speaking, the key driver behind the growth of this market, according to the analyst, is the convenience and portability of energy drinks as a functional delivery system.
In terms of brands, Red Bull remains the number one energy drink marketer, with 43 percent of the market in 2006. This is followed by the Monster brand energy drink, at 16 percent of the market, and Rockstar at 12 percent.
The report says that at seven percent of the market, Coca-Cola's Full Throttle also shows promise.