Industry Checkpoint-1


Behaviors + trends of energy drink consumers

The energy drink, as we know it today, has gone through an impressive transformation. 

While the modern energy drink was originally created in post World War II Japan for blue collar workers that needed an extra caffeine boost during long shifts, the beverage category didn't become popular until the 1980s after an Australian marketing executive partnered up with the owner of Thailand's Krating Dang (known today as "Red Bull") to bring its drink to the masses.

With a little extra sugar, and even more caffeine, the rest was history. By the late 1990s, Red Bull was a hit in America and the energy drink craze took off everywhere. 

Now associated with college students desperate to stay awake, what is it about energy drinks that has contributed to its tremendous 42% market growth in the last two years? Why do consumers like them so much? How do preferences differ in the U.S. versus the U.K.?

We decided to find out the answers to these questions. Below are the top 4 most exciting insights we discovered from our energy drink trend Pulses, selected from hundreds of results uncovered with OnePulse's consumer opinion platform


Sugar VS Sugarless

U.S. consumers have a sweet tooth that's hard to break compared to those in the U.K.

  • 1 in 3 U.S. consumers drink sweetened energy drinks compared to 1 in 4 in the U.K.
  • 29% in the U.S. are unwilling to switch to sugar-free energy drinks compared to 26% in the U.K.
  • 20% in the U.S. are "somewhat unwilling" to switch to sugar-free energy drinks compared to 14% in the U.K.
Major energy drink brands have been taking chances on new flavours to attract new consumers. Some examples include Red Bull The Coconut Edition and Rockstar Recovery in Marshmallow. How open are you to trying new inv-3

Flavor preferences

Nearly 1 in 3 are willing to try new energy drink flavors. However, most prefer tropical drinks.

  • 33% in the U.S. are interested in trying new energy drink flavors compared to 29% in the U.K.
  • The most popular flavors in the U.S. are: strawberry (25%), pineapple (22%) and fruit punch (21%)
  • The most popular flavors in the U.K. are: raspberry (22%), mango (20%) and cherry (20%)
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Young habits

A majority of energy drink consumers are introduced to energy drinks in their teens.
  • The go-to energy drink brands are Red Bull, Monster, Mountain Dew (U.S. only) and Lucozade (U.K. only)
  • 61% in the U.S. and 68% in the U.K. start drinking energy drinks before age 20

In as much detail as you can, what is the main reason you drink your go-to brand of energy drinks__question_chart (1)

Buying Behavior

Most energy drink consumers care more about taste than ingredients or brand.
  • U.S. and U.K. consumers are most influenced by energy drink taste, cost and product quality.
  • Driving and road tripping are the most popular environments for consuming energy drinks at 39% in the U.S. and 23% in the U.K.
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