Growth within the UK sports drinks market slowed, from 8% in 2011 to 3% in 2012. The key determinant of performance was thus price movements, with a slight decline in 2012 following a stronger rise of 4% in 2011.
Low-cost alternatives had a significant impact on the category in 2012, prompting a unit price decline for the sports drinks category.
Traditional consumers of sports drinks (16-24 year old males) are seeing increased diversification as a result of the availability of a greater variety of low calorie, low sugar, and natural ingredient options.
The sports drinks category is still heavily reliant on standard products under the major brand names Lucozade Sport (GlaxoSmithKline Plc) and Powerade (Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd) and indicates little in terms of a move towards carbonates interms of the diversity of the offer.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (with its Lucozade brand) and Red Bull Co Ltd continued to lead the sports drinks category, accounting for a combined value share of 64% in 2012. Nevertheless, this represents a continuation of the decline seen over the past five years, as other manufacturers slowly gain traction with their own brands.
With rising living costs and pressurised disposable incomes, consumers are becoming more price sensitive. The reaction to this is changing consumer preferences in the sports drinks industry, with a shift towards cheaper brands, reflected in the rising share of "others", reaching 12% in 2012.
The key trends impacting the sports drinks category during in 2012 demonstrated a shift towards low-calorie, low-sugar and low-cost variants. There will be increased new product development in these variants through to 2017 and will thus continue to fuel in growth on the same.
An increase in the off-trade volume sales of sports drinks is anticipated over the next five years, with consumers showing increased interest in products that have a more natural positioning such as Pussy Natural Energy Drink. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of ingredients and operators in the category are only just starting to cater for this shift in demand.
For more information on the UK sports drinks market, see the latest research: UK Sports Drinks Market
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