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UK energy drinks market dominated by GSK's Lucozade brand

Industry Sector

Food and Drink


7 November 2012


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The UK energy drinks market is expected to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% over the next five years, however, the category will face considerable pressure from other functional soft drinks, including products such as Britvic‟s SoBe Water and Biosynergy Skinny Water, which, unlike energy drinks, are free from preservatives and artificial colours.

The UK energy drinks sector has recorded a period of sustained growth, with brands pumping out one innovation after another to its youthful target market. It is a trend that shows no sign of abating. In May 2012 Red Bull unveiled plans to launch 'Editions' - three fruit-flavoured variants in lime, cranberry and blueberry - in the UK. The range is aimed at consumers who like the effects of Red Bull, but not the flavour.

From the introduction of bigger sizes and shots to cola variants, innovation is paying off for the sector, which houses major brands such as Red Bull, GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Lucozade, and Coca-Cola's Relentless. Last year, it gained 17% in value share, and is now worth £791.8 million, making it the UK's third biggest soft-drinks category, according to the 'Britvic Soft Drinks Report 2012'.

In 2011, energy drinks continued to grow in popularity and expand through major sports collaborations and sponsorships. Red Bull was particularly successful with its sponsorship of Formula 1 motor racing in 2011, with the Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel winning the world title once again.

GlaxoSmithKline continued as the leading player in the UK energy drinks market in 2011, by accounting for an off-trade value sales share of 40%. This share was entirely accounted for by the company's iconic Lucozade brand. The company's off-trade value sales reached £498 million in 2011. The company invested £32 million in marketing and advertising for its Lucozade brand in 2011.

The Lucozade YES campaign, which was launched in the summer of 2011, utilised a range of media and proved highly popular among the UK‟s youth population. The campaign, which was run across all the Lucozade sub-brands, namely Sport, Sport Lite and Energy, was targeted to consumers aged 16-24 through bringing music and sport together, with the company‟s advertisements featuring music from leading artists, such as Tinie Tempah. The Yes campaign also encompassed on-pack promotions, as well as activity on social networking sites, including Facebook.Lucozade

However, despite being present in the UK for over a year, energy shots did not provide significant growth for energy drinks in 2011, largely due to a lack of proper communication as to when these energy shots are to be consumed and the energy level rise that can be obtained from their consumption.

In the US, the main player in the market is the five-hour energy boost. Such specific, longer-lasting energy claims can't be made in the UK, and without this benefit, coupled with their relatively high prices, consumers didn't buy into the appeal of shots.

For more information on the UK energy drinks market, see the latest research: UK Energy Drinks Market

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