Historically, the category has been associated purely with consumption in gyms and sports venues, with marketing communication generally always focused on these moments. However, for several years now, some brands have been making efforts to try to generate different or new consumption occasions.
Sales of sports drinks suffered during 2020 with the closure of sports venues and gyms taking away key consumption occasions for these products. As restrictions started to be eased in 2021 there was a strong desire to find opportunities to exercise outside of the home beyond just taking part in sport or going to the gym with this helping to expand the audience for sports drinks.
With fewer sporting activities and events taking place during 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, the marketing opportunities for sports drinks diminished considerably. This in turn negatively impacted the consumption habits of consumers, with sports drinks no longer at front of mind when consumers looked for rehydration.
If sports drinks is to continue its development then players will need to seize the opportunity to build on the gains seen in 2021. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic sports drinks were largely purchased by those people who participate in sport or who visit the gym, but with the growing focus on health and wellbeing more consumers are becoming active and this should present further opportunities for growth.
Aligned with the trend observed in juice, there is likely to be growing interest in local ingredients and natural flavours, with consumers increasingly shunning products that are perceived to contain artificial ingredients. Typically, sports drinks have vibrant colours and flavours and are perceived as artificial and less healthy.
Pre-pandemic, leading player Ajeper had experienced significant growth through marketing its brand Sporade as a product for daily consumption, rather than just as an exercise-enhancing product for hydration or recovering lost electrolytes. This communication strategy is likely to continue over the forecast period as converting this category to everyday consumption would greatly increase volume sales.
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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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