Packing a punch – the world’s most popular energy drinks

Despite concerns over high caffeine levels, energy drinks are still as popular as sports drinks, which differ in their volume of carbohydrates and electrolytes. The success is mostly down to attractive packaging, product innovation and a consumer shift from carbonated drinks. Drinks Insight Network presents the world’s top selling energy drinks, based on market share.


Red Bull energy drink

Red Bull – 43% market share

The launch of Red Bull in 1987 in Austria spawned the creation of a new subcategory of energy drinks in the beverage market. Red Bull contains a formulation of caffeine, taurine, B-group vitamins, sugars and alpine spring water. Since its launch, Red Bull has also introduced a sugar-free variant to cater to health conscious and new customers.

As an early entrant in the market, Red Bull has become synonymous with energy drinks. It is currently sold in 169 countries with the US, Brazil and China its biggest growth markets.

The drink is been distinguished from other beverages through its novel 25cl can. The slim can design and packaging has enabled Red Bull to capture consumer’s attention and stand out in retail stores.

Despite being the biggest player in the market, Red Bull does not invest heavily in advertising. The company rather uses a marketing strategy aimed at preserving the brand’s image as premium and edgy. Red Bull sponsors a number of extreme sports events such as cliff diving, Formula 1 racing, skiing, mountain biking and skateboarding, which help reach its target consumer group and promote its edgy brand image.

Monster Energy – 39% market share

Produced by Monster Beverage, Monster Energy contains a blend of carnitine, glucose, caffeine, guarana, inositol, glucuronolactone and maltodextrin. It is also available in low carbohydrate and zero calorie versions.

Similar to Red Bull, Monster Energy targets young adults, mostly male, through association with extreme sporting events including motocross, BMX, mountain biking, surfing and snowboarding.

Despite being a relatively late entrant, Monster Energy captured a sizeable chunk of the energy drinks market by offering its beverage in a can twice the size of Red Bull but at the same price. Monster’s drink is sold in 114 countries with the US being its biggest market where sales continue to grow. A distribution partnership with Coca-Cola has improved customer reach and distribution network for the drink.

To further broaden its reach, Monster Energy was launched in a number of European countries including Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Monster Beverage is also planning to launch the energy drink in China, Russia and Nigeria.

Rockstar - 10% market share

Rockstar positions itself as a stronger and quicker alternative to other energy drinks on the market. It contains a mixture of carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, taurine, guarana seed extract and includes ginseng root extract among its ingredients.

Similar to Monster Energy, Rockstar captured market share by offering the drink in cans twice the size of Red Bull at the same price point. It is available in more than 20 flavours including Cucumber Lime, Zero Carb, Pina Colada and Watermelon Freeze.

Rockstar also promotes itself through association with action sports, motor sports and music. The drink is sold in more than 30 countries.

NOS – 3% market share

Previously owned and marketed by Coca-Cola, NOS has a market share of 3% in the global energy drinks market. The drink contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, taurine, caffeine, ascorbic acid, panax ginseng root extract, cyanocobalamin and folic acid.

Coca-Cola acquired a 16.7% stake in Monster Beverage, including NOS and other non-energy drink brands owned by Monster Beverage such as Hansen’s soda.

Despite being a relatively small player in the market, NOS has gained market share with the help of Coca-Cola’s distribution network.

Amp energy drink

Amp – 3% market share

Amp was originally launched in 2001 by PepsiCo as an energy drink version of Mountain Dew but was later positioned as a standalone energy drink for sports enthusiasts. The energy drink contains caffeine, potassium, phosphorus and high fructose corn syrup.

PepsiCo has captured market share in the growing energy drink market by offering new and innovative flavours of Amp. The drink is available in a range of flavours including cherry, strawberry, passion fruit, watermelon and blueberry.

Amp is priced lower than other energy drinks, which is another reason for its growing popularity. The drink is sold in more than 200 countries, with the US being its primary market.