Energy drinks are a booming business

By Hayley Brown

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Energy drinks, Marketing, Water

Sports and energy drinks represent one of the strongest growth sectors within the UK carbonated drinks market, according to market researchers, with...

Sports and energy drinks represent one of the strongest growth sectors within the UK carbonated drinks market, according to market researchers, with sales predicted to increase by 48% to reach £1.5bn in the next five years.

Sales continue to rise, mainly because products are now being marketed and consumed as lifestyle drinks, such as ‘pick-me-ups’, according to Leatherhead Food Research (LFR).

In volume terms, the market stood at around 500Ml in 2008, and continues to register double-digit increases despite the economic downturn. During the last year, value sales increased by more than 10% to reach £850M. The energy drinks segment can be broken down into glucose and stimulant varieties, added LFR. In 2008, glucose-based products accounted for almost 60% of volume sales, compared with around 40% for stimulant drinks such as Red Bull.

Market research firm Mintel predicted that, by the end of 2009, sales of sports and energy drinks would hit £1bn. And over the next five years, it said value sales are forecast to increase by 48% to reach £1.5bn.

Despite the boost in sales, today only a third of the population actually consumes sports and energy drinks, a figure that has remained static over the past five years. Jonny Forsyth, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said that there has been a distinct failure to grow penetration of sports and energy drinks in the UK. Instead, the market has succeeded as a result of the increasing frequency of drinking among young male converts in particular.

“The challenge for the industry going forward is to grow its user base by successfully targeting females, people between the ages of 35 and 54 and workers. This means increasingly stealing market share from carbonates and bottled water in particular. The problem is that energy drinks appeal most to the physically active and men aged between 15 and 34 do more exercise than anyone else. A more mainstream opportunity lies in targeting mental rather than physical energy,” added Forsyth.

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