Sports Drink Sales Slipping

Consumers are reaching for other beverages to hydrate.

February 05, 2020

ALTANTA—Gatorade might have prominent airplay at the Super Bowl, but in stores, sports drinks have seen sales slump, CNBC reports. Gatorade, owned by PepsiCo, and Powerade, owned by Coca-Cola, have been struggling lately as consumers prefer other beverages for hydration.

“Hydration itself is not that interesting anymore,” said Euromonitor analyst Aga Jarzabek. According to Euromonitor, Gatorade leads the U.S. sports drink category with a 72.1% market share of retail sales. Powerade sits in second place with a 16.1% share. “The whole entire market is determined by the performance of those two brands,” Jarzabek said.

Both Coke and PepsiCo are increasing their sports drink brands, such as Gatorade Zero’s debut in 2018. “It absolutely met the taste expectations of Gatorade, which is a pretty high bar,” said Brett O’Brien, Gatorade general manager. “It brought customers back.”

Last summer, Gatorade launched Bolt24 with antioxidants to attract health conscious customers throughout the day. Later this year, Bolt24 will introduce caffeinated versions.

Meanwhile, Powerade has had a no-sugar product since 2008 and will debut two new versions this year: Ultra and Power Water. “It’s a category for us that we see as a real opportunity,” said Shane Grant, who heads Coca-Cola’s North American still beverages unit. Grant predicted that the sports drink category will increase between 3% and 5%.

“The categories are really starting to condense together,” Jarzabek said. “Now they’re realizing that energy is the most desired benefit in soft drinks, so it only makes sense that sports drinks are trying to add that functionality.”