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The sports drink market has been forecast to hit a market value of US$55 billion by 2018, driven by shifting consumer attitude towards health and fitness, rising enrollments at health clubs, fitness centers and gyms, and a surge in demand for healthier refreshment options.
The sector has grown strongly in recent years (up 64% 2007 - 2012); with less than 50% penetration there is significant room for further growth.
Sports nutrition drinks are divided into three major categories: Hypotonic, which contain relatively low concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars; Isotonic, which contain mid-level concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars; and Hypertonic: which contain high concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars.
One of the keys to sports drink marketing is that, unlike the health claims of some other beverages, the basic science is irrefutable. The components of sports drinks (electrolytes, water and carbohydrates) are essential for hydration during strenuous exercise.
Sports and protein drinks are transitioning from being separate categories into one overall sports performance market. The category has seen development of products that target serious or casual athletes as well as beverages formulated around exercise occasions.
The role of sports nutrition products has witnessed a paradigm shift from 'muscle building' to one that promotes wellness and disease prevention. A fitness-crazy generation and the good-health image of sports drinks are factors driving growth in sports/energy drinks and sports/energy bars segments.
Additionally, sports drinks are increasingly being used as refreshment drinks, which are further fuelling demand for these products in the marketplace.
Major sports drink companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are launching aggressive advertising campaigns to promote brands and capture attention of health conscious consumers. Energy beverage makers are also aware of demands of active lifestyle users while bringing about innovations in their product lines.
In the UK, Lucozade Energy remains the market leader with more than £260m annual sales and value and volume growth. The US brand, Mountain Dew, came back to the UK after a long absence in 2011, reinvented as an energy drink, and gained sales of more than £16m. With Coca-Cola an official Olympic sponsor, Powerade should have benefited from the increase in promotional activity through 2012 but its sales rose only 4% year on year.
The sports drink market is set to witness exponential growth over the coming years due to new innovations, novel packaging and marked changes in consumer preferences.
For more information on the sports drink market, see the latest research: Sports Drink Market
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