Drinking an energy drink
Millennial men are most likely to consume energy drinks.

ROCKVILLE, MD. — The U.S. retail market for energy and sports drinks has risen at an annual rate of 7% over the last five years, resulting in sales of $25 billion in 2016, according to Packaged Facts’ new report, Energy & Sports Drinks: U.S. Market Trends & Opportunities.

The category’s growth may be attributed to consumer demand for beverages with functional properties, Packaged Facts said, as well as consumers seeking novel and better-for-you alternatives to carbonated soft drinks.

David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts
David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts

“Many consumers perceive sports drinks as healthier than sodas and other carbonated beverages due to their association with sports and physical activity in general,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Although originally designed for athletes, these products soon garnered mainstream sales as anytime drinks, particularly among teen and young adult males. The novel flavor profile of energy and sports drinks also appealed to consumers seeking a change from sodas.”

Millennials, or those who are 25 to 34 years old, are most likely to choose energy and sports drinks.

While millennial men have long been the face of these beverages, the products are gaining traction with other consumers as well. Women in general are less likely to consume sports drinks, but millennial women are the exception to the rule. Millennial women consume sports drinks at levels that exceed their male counterparts, Packaged Facts said. Similarly, women ages 50 and older also drank more energy drinks than men their age.

Drinking a sports drink
Millennial women consume sports drinks at levels that exceed their male counterparts.

Consumers with children are also significantly more likely to purchase sports and energy drinks. Parents may be introduced to sports drinks when purchasing them for their children as a refreshment for sports practices and games, Packaged Facts said, while energy drink purchases seem to be more of a fuel source for parents caring for children.

“Having a single child in the home is sufficient to see this bump in reported usage, and energy drink usage tends to increase with each additional child — a clear indication that parents are a ripe demographic for marketers in this beverage segment,” Packaged Facts said. “The age of children in the household influences usage rates for energy drinks but not for sports drinks. In fact, energy drink users are significantly more likely to have young children in their household. These findings suggest that many initially seek out energy drinks as a tool to keep up with the demands of caring for young children.”