Despite sustained criticism of the category by government regulators and consumer health advocates, energy drinks continue to sell at a strong rate in convenience stores, according to recent Nielsen data released in a new Wells Fargo Securities report.
According to the report, energy drink sales in C-stores increased by 7.4 percent over the four week period ending on Aug. 3.
Led by strong gains in its Zero Ultra line, Monster Energy, which has a 38.1 percent dollar share in the category, grew by 13.1 percent in terms of dollar sales, the company’s highest growth this year.
“[Monster] continues to reignite its growth in the channel, led by solid innovation and new product launches,” said Bonnie Herzog, the author of the report.
Meanwhile, Red Bull, the top-selling energy drink brand, maintained its success in C-stores, posting an 8.9 percent increase in dollar sales over the same time period. The company’s dollar share in the category checks in at 40.3 percent.
Rockstar, however, continues to face declining sales in C-stores. While the company still holds an 8.4 percent dollar share of the energy category, Rockstar’s dollar sales in C-stores declined by 6.7 percent over the four-week period, and are down 5.9 percent over the last 12 weeks, according to the report. Sales of the brand in C-stores are up 1.1 percent over the past 52 weeks ending on Aug. 3. In comparison, same period sales of Red Bull and Monster products are up 12.5 and 12.8 percent respectively.
The Coca-Cola Co., Inc., however, saw significant growth of its NOS and Full Throttle brands. Dollar sales of Coke’s energy drinks increased by 11.4 percent in C-stores in the four week period.
The report also notes that while C-stores sales of CSDs have softened, they nonetheless remain positive. Dollar sales in the CSD category increased by 1.3 percent over the four week period ending on Aug. 3, compared to a 2 percent increase in the last month. While the category’s equivalent unit volume has declined by 2.4 percent, the average equivalent price has increased by 3.8 percent.
PepsiCo recorded its worst monthly performance in more than a year. Dollar sales of Pepsi CSDs declined by 1.4 percent, compared to 0.7 percent last month, along with a 6.5 percent decline in unit volume and a 5.4 percent increase in average equivalent price. The report notes that Pepsi’s struggles are likely a result of weakening sales of Mountain Dew, which is no longer the top-selling CSD in C-stores after outselling Coca-Cola for the previous six months.
Coke’s dollar sales increased by 2.7 percent over the period, compared to 4.1 and 4 percent increases in the previous two months. As previously reported, diet CSD sales are plummeting, and Diet Coke is feeling the effects, posting its largest monthly decline in units sold in more than one year.
“Overall, following two strong months of growth, a slightly softer month for CSDs, with [Pepsi] struggling the most,” the report says.