In 2015, Chinese consumers drank an additional 545 million liters of sports drinks over 2014, according to a research by Mintel.
In terms of volume growth, China experienced the greatest increase between 2014 and 2015, rising by 25%, which is nearly four times the annual growth in America between 2014 and 2015.
Further, the global market for energy drinks rose by an energetic 10% in 2015 to reach an unstoppable 8.8 billion liters.
Around the world, the top five energy drinks markets in terms of volume sales are the US (3.3 billion liters), China (1.4 billion liters), the UK (561 million liters), Thailand (465 million liters) and Vietnam (351 million liters).
But it is not just volume sales that are on the rise, as global energy drink innovation is also booming.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), more energy drinks were launched globally in 2015 than in any year since 2008, with the number of energy drink products launched growing 29% between 2010 and 2015.
While energy drink launches around the world have seen a new lease of life, Mintel research reveals that when it comes to innovation, Germany is king.
Indeed, the country recorded the highest share of new energy drink product launches in 2015, overtaking the US for the first time.
Some 9% of global energy drink launches occurred in Germany in 2015, as opposed to 8% in the US.
In comparison, Germany experienced just 6% of global new energy drink product launches in 2014, while 10% of global launches took place in the US.
“The primary driver of global growth remains the drinks’ capacity to provide consumers with a quick and effective energy boost – something which resonates with consumers the world over,” says global food and drink analyst Alex Beckett.
“Energy drinks are benefitting from being championed by giant brands, which devote huge investment to advertising and high profile marketing initiatives to project an exciting and edgy image.”
“However, in less developed regions, local energy drink brands are emerging and gaining distribution as a more affordable alternative to multinationals, adding pressure for major players to project a brand identity that consumers from Beijing to New York want to be associated with, and pay more for.”
On a natural note, Mintel research indicates that introductions bearing an organic claim have reached a record high.
Some 7% of energy drinks launched globally in 2015 carried an organic claim, up from 4% in 2011.
And organic innovation shows few signs of slowing down: so far in 2016, as many as 6% of global launches have carried an organic claim, with Europe leading the way.
About 58% organic energy drink products launched globally in 2016 have taken place in Europe, compared to 39% in North America and 3% in Latin America.
The rise in organic launches comes as consumers show strong interest in more natural energy drinks.
In China, thirst for more natural energy drinks is evident in that 40% of consumers say they would be encouraged to buy a sports of energy drink product made from natural ingredients.
Meanwhile, 26% of US consumers say they would be more comfortable drinking energy drinks or shots made with all-natural ingredients, and 61% of consumers in Poland, Spain (54%), Italy (54%) and Germany (53%) say they would like to see a wider variety of sports and energy drinks made with natural colorings and flavors.
Consumption in families
Finally, Mintel research reveals that parents are emerging as a valuable audience for energy drinks.
In the US, while on average 12% of consumers drink energy drinks, this rises to 26% of those with children aged five and under and 32% of those with six to 11 year olds.
In Germany, 33% of adults drank a branded energy drink in 2015, rising to 44% of those with under-21 in the household.
Meanwhile, in the UK, 58% parents with children aged five and under drink energy drinks, up from an average of 35%.
“Often exhausted and needing to be on the go pretty much constantly, young parents are emerging as a valuable user group for energy drink brands around the world,” says Beckett.
“Although they are not the traditional target audience of 18-24s which typically feature in marketing campaigns, young parents and older Millennials in general are the primary energy drink consumers.”