Energy drinks market maturing in Western Europe

Related tags Energy drinks Europe

Growth in the West European energy drinks market has slowed down
and market share is highly concentrated among the leading brands,
reveals a new report.

Red Bull has kept a firm hold on its lead, currently owning two thirds of overall volume across West Europe. The brand is present in 13 West European countries and holds the lead in 12 of these, shows the report​ from UK-based consultancy Zenith International.

The rest of the top 20 brands took a combined 17 per cent share during 2003, revealing a highly concentrated market with a long tail of numerous small brands.

Shark, also from Austria, has strengthened its number two ranking. In third place, Battery from Carlsberg's Finnish arm Sinebrychoff retains the distinction of being the only product to outsell Red Bull head to head - in Finland.

But energy drinks will sustain encouraging growth rates in the coming years, predicts Zenith. Although slower than previous years, energy drinks still saw a 6.5 per cent sales increase in 2003 to 311 million litres, translating into a market value of €2340 million.

An estimated 64 per cent of 2003 volume was generated by away from home consumption through bars, clubs and petrol stations. The remaining 36 per cent came from retail outlets, which are becoming increasingly important as the consumer base broadens. Due to their price premium, away from home sales accounted for 79 per cent of value, while retail outlets took the other 21 per cent.

"Strong marketing, wider distribution, the targeting of new consumer groups and occasions, packaging innovation and the arrival of better differentiated new products have been key contributors to current growth,"​ commented Zenith research director Gary Roethenbaugh.

He added: "Although Red Bull's supremacy remains unchallenged, supermarket own labels have begun to build a significant presence and a handful of other brands are carving out their own niche."

But fewer new brands are being launched compared with the 1990s and the early 2000s have clearly experienced a shake-out. Many marginal operators have withdrawn their products or decided to focus on other business activities. The major soft drink multinationals have also struggled to make headway but are evidently determined to fight on in this key growth sector. Coca-Cola's Burn and BPM Energy Focus are both in the top 20, but not yet in the top five, according to the report.

And most players have followed the Red Bull recipe, with a combination of caffeine and taurine the most prevalent energy-giving formula, accounting for 84 per cent of volume.

The role played by different markets is however changing. More mature markets, such as the United Kingdom and Germany, have seen their share gradually eroded as medium and smaller sized markets expand more rapidly. The largest markets in 2003 were the United Kingdom with 26 per cent of total volume, followed by Germany with 20 per cent and Spain with 13 per cent.

German sales fell by over 20 per cent during the year, in the wake of new packaging deposit legislation which hit cans particularly hard. Indeed 86 per cent of energy drinks in Western Europe are packaged in cans, far ahead of glass and PET packaging which have a mere 7 per cent share each. Post-mix and other formats are also present on a minor scale.

Austria, which has the longest established energy drinks tradition and the highest consumption per person, now has an 11 per cent share of the overall energy drinks market in Western Europe, the fourth biggest market.

Zenith's report projects annual growth rates of between 7 - 9 per cent over the next five years, taking West European energy drinks consumption to more than 450 million litres by 2008.

For more information on the '2004 Zenith Report on West Europe Energy Drinks', contact Zenith International​.

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