Energy Drinks… the preferred beverage for when the TPS reports are due.

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A new survey being marketed by consumer trend watchers the NPD group has uncovered the sad little secret of energy drinks — the biggest use isn’t for snowboarding across flaming ski slopes while playing video games and humping everything in our path. It’s for getting enough focus to re-enter the cube and finish up our daily drudgery.

According to the survey, 36 percent of energy drink purchases are work-related; more than travel, school, mealtime and sporting evens combined.

Here’s the release:

Port Washington, NY, October 10, 2007 – By now, everyone in the food and beverage industry should be aware of the phenomenal growth experienced in the energy drink market over the past several years. According to leading research firm The NPD Group, there is more to this trend than the “cool factor,” with only four percent of energy drink buyers citing “Cool & Trendy” as a reason behind their energy drink purchase.

In looking beyond the “cool factor,” NPD found the need for an energy boost to be the number one reason for purchase across all buyer segments; however, other purchase drivers experience more variance across age groups. Taste and preference for the energy category is of greater importance for younger consumers, while older buyers are more likely to cite the need for caffeine, instant energy, and an alternative to coffee.

While consumers might not be buying energy drinks for the “cool factor,” they most definitely want their drinks cool. Approximately 70 percent of energy drink buyers reported purchasing their drinks cold, which makes sense considering over half of energy drink purchases are unplanned purchases for immediate consumption.

“The vast majority of energy drink purchases in convenience stores are single-serve cans,” states David Portalatin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. He adds, “A significant number of consumers in this study told us that if their energy drink wasn’t cold, they would most likely not make the purchase or they would choose a different kind of beverage that was cold.”

The convenience channel has reaped the benefits of this impulse behavior, with two-thirds of buyers citing a purchase in the convenience/retail gasoline channel within the past six months, and 50% more buyers reporting their last purchase in this channel as compared to traditional grocery stores.

So where are energy drink buyers rushing off to? Thirty-six percent of energy drink buyers reported doing something work related when they made their last energy drink purchase; more than travel, school, meal time, and sporting events combined.

Portalatin says, “You see some outrageous marketing and appeal to the edgy, alternative sports and extreme games kind of crowd. But the reality is you’ve got people in all demographic segments that are buying energy drinks. You are just as likely to find an open energy drink around an executive conference table in the afternoon as you are down at the skateboard park.”