Consumption of Sports Drinks

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Consumption of Sports Drinks

COVID-19 has impacted many industries and market segments in the United States. While some sectors have been hit hard, others have seen some growths due to changes in consumer behaviors. Below is a summary of key findings on changes in sales of sports drinks, which have seen steady growth particularly at grocery stores.

Key Findings on Changes in Sales

  • In the United States, the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact caused an inflection point in the market during the week of March 1, 2020. The market saw a beginning of significant stockpiling in multi-outlet (MULO) retailers and convenience players.
  • According to "COVID-19 Impact: Consumer Spending Tracker" by Information Resources Inc. (IRI) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG), beverages posted the highest gains among consumer packaged goods (CPG), with an increase of 10.3% in sales in the United States for the inflection week of March 1-8.
  • Sports drinks saw a double-digit increase of 21.6% for the same period. Please note that the gains are measured by changes from the same period in the previous year--they are not weekly gains from the previous week.
  • By mid April, however, sales in beverages began to flatten, with sales in sports drinks posting a 12.3% decrease for the week ending April 12--compared to the modest decline of 1% in the overall beverage category.
  • The decline continued onto the week ending April 26. Sales for sports drinks picked up again in the following week at modest rates up until the week ending May 24 (the latest data available). For weekly updated data, please see here.

Key Findings on Sale Channels

  • The spending tracker also suggests that American consumers still favor traditional channels for CPG as evidenced in the sale growths since the stockpiling period, with grocery store sales posting a 27% increase--compared to a 16% increase in MULO sales by mid April.
  • Over the declining period for sales of sports drinks, however, MULO sales of this specific subcategory remained resilient, posting growths for every week since the beginning of the stockpiling with the exception for the week ending April 12, when a modest decline was posted. See details here.
  • Sales at grocery stores for sports drinks has posted gains since the beginning of the stockpiling period without a decline although it has flattened after its peak in March. See detailed data here.
  • It appears the convenience channel was mostly responsible for the declining period of sales of sports drinks mentioned in the previous section. Detailed data (see here) from the spending tracker suggests that sales through this channel increased in the first half of March (the beginning of the stockpiling) and started to decline every week since then until the second week of May, when it started to grow again at modest rates.

Research Strategy

To carry out this research, we utilized data from "COVID-19 Impact: Consumer Spending Tracker" by IRI and BCG. The tracker provides data on changes in weekly sales compared to the same period in the previous year (year-on-year changes). The tracker dashboard is regularly updated as the latest data becomes available. The dashboard allows users to select various options for data. For example, users may view data by sale channels (MULO, grocery stores and convenience). Each category of CPG has subcategories. To view data for the subcategories, users must click on the category name. For example, users must click on "Beverages" to find data for the sports drinks subcategory. Please note that the data is express in an index term, meaning the value of 100 indicates no change, bigger than 100 indicates an increase and smaller than 100 indicates a decrease.

Please note the significance of the week ending April 12--this is when the United States was expecting the peak of COVID-19. The second of week of May, when sales through the convenience channel came out of a negative growth, is the period when many states were beginning to reopen the economy.
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