The COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a negative impact on the consumption of sports drinks over 2020 and 2021, due to fundamental changes to the lifestyle that fuelled its previous strong growth. Opportunities for exercise were limited during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, with both gyms and public events based on physical exercise – such as marathons and fun runs – frequently closed or cancelled.
Due to their association with sport and therefore health, sports drinks are widely considered as healthy beverages, although containing sugar, only in relatively small quantities that is likely to be burnt off whilst exercising. For this reason, sports drinks manufacturers have been slow to introduce reduced sugar variants.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having eliminated many of the sporting activities with which sports drinks were associated, sports drinks marketers have resorted to extending their target market to activities not traditionally regarded as sport, but which Australians can still take part in during the lockdown. One of these activities, gaming, has been especially popular during the pandemic.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and gyms reopen, Australians will once again be able to exercise, and growth will return to sports drinks. Positive value growth is expected over the forecast period, roughly in line with the rates of growth experienced prior to the pandemic.
One factor that is likely to hold sports drinks back over the forecast period is the lack of population growth, particularly amongst the younger age groups towards which sports drinks consumption is heavily skewed. The lack of migration expected over the forecast period – particularly in the short to medium term – will limit the potential growth of the category.
Reduced sugar sports drinks currently makes up only a relatively small proportion of total sports drinks consumption and value. The low presence of reduced sugar sports drinks in the market is due to the low content of sugar in sports drinks themselves.
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The choice of sports drink usually depends on the provision of fluids, carbohydrates or both. Included into this subsector are isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic sports drinks. Isotonic are products that replace lost body fluids, electrolytes (sodium, potassium and chlorides) and glucose in similar concentrations to existing body fluid without causing either swelling or shrinkage of cells. These products usually contain about 5-8% carbohydrate and are intended to be consumed during exercise and/or heat exposure. Hypotonic this product is a weaker solution than your body fluid. These drinks contain less carbohydrate and therefore have lower osmolality (fewer dissolved particles than blood). These drinks help the body to speed up water absorption and are best used when you need urgent fluid replacement, as in after exercise. These drinks are not the best for energy replacement. Hypertonic - this drink is a stronger solution than your body fluid. These drinks are designed to replace and maintain energy levels during exercise of at least one hour. They are absorbed slowly and therefore are not appropriate for fluid replacement. Leading brands in off-trade volume include Gatorade, Powerade and Aquarius.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Sports Drinks research and analysis database.
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