Energy shots showed remarkable growth in 2011 and are on the same meteoric rise that energy drinks experienced four years ago, but they appeal to a different demographic. That was the uplifting news in a 2011 report on energy shots from Chicago-based research firm Mintel International.
For example, the largest consumer group of 5-hour Energy, the leader in the category, is the 55-plus demographic compared to energy drinks, which most appeals to teen and young adult consumers, Mintel reported. One reason energy shots continue to resonate with an older demographic is that they are perceived as safer than energy drinks, as well as lower in calories, sugar and caffeine. They also don’t come with the crash usually associated with energy drinks. Consumers who don’t want energy drinks, but are looking for the functional benefit of an energy boost are gravitating to the shots.
Energy shot sales are expected to continue growing in 2012 as the economy continues to improve. Energy shots are expected to grow 98% in sales between 2011 and 2016, according to Mintel. In 2011, the energy drinks and shots category brought in about $7 billion combined and Mintel is expecting to see an 11-12% annual increase in the combined categories until 2016.
“The energy shots category is really consolidated at the top with 5-hour Energy being the lead brand by far,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of Beverage Marketing Corp. “It’s very directly marketed to that need state of energy, and we continue to see growth there. 5-hour Energy has well over half the market.”
At Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, 5-hour Energy unit volume soared 96% in the last six months of 2011 versus the last six months of 2010. “My total energy shots sales were actually down in 2011, but my 5-hour Energy sales were up 4.5 %,” said Matthew Paduano, vice president of category management for Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy.
Paduano, who is expecting another strong year in 2012, noted that the demographic for energy shots at his stores is the 35-plus crowd and often tends to skew female.
While Paduano sees more all-natural and functional energy shots flooding the market, Nice N Easy isn’t deviating from the main category players. In some cases that comes down to the fact that the wholesaler may not carry them, and in other instances, the consumer demand just isn’t there.
“There are more relaxation shots or downer shots on the market and all-natural energy shots, but they don’t seem to have caught on and they haven’t made headway in our stores,” Paduano said. “I have yet to have a manger let me know someone was looking for a natural energy shot or a relaxation drink.”
Some consumers view relaxation shots as the anti-energy shots, which doesn’t seem to mesh with today’s fast-paced lifestyle. “I think the jury is out still on whether this is a bona fide category that can be sustained and if it’s something consumers truly want,” Hemphill said.
Energy Shots Trending Upward
Sales of energy drinks and shots in 2011 totaled about $7 billion, according to Mintel International. Sales for the upcoming year are expected to be even stronger. Trends include:
• Energy shots are expected to grow 98% in sales between 2011 and 2016, according to Mintel International. The research firm is expecting to see an 11-12% annual increase in the combined energy shots category until 2016.
• Beverage Digest reported that 5-hour Energy, which overwhelmingly dominates the energy shots category, grew about 23% in 2011 across all four channels: c-stores, drug stores, mass and supermarkets.
• The top three reasons energy shots users consume these beverages is to get functional benefits such as an energy boost, to keep mentally alert and to stay awake, according to Mintel International.