Customers today are increasingly looking for ways to increase their energy. Both energy drinks and energy shots offer appealing options for boosting energy levels.
The most obvious difference between the two is size. Energy shots are usually about 50 milliliters or about two fluid ounces, allowing customers to get the energy they need in a more concentrated form, without taking the time to consume an entire beverage. An energy shot can fit easily in a pocket or purse. Meanwhile, the typical energy drink is usually around 8.4 fluid ounces to 24 fluid ounces.
At a convenience store you’ll usually find energy shots up by the checkout, appealing to customers’ impulse purchase habits, while energy drinks are found in the cooler case alongside tea and soft drinks.
Both beverage products traditionally include caffeine to give customers that energy boost, and they also usually include vitamins, like B6 and B12, amino acids such as taurine, and other energy stimulating ingredients such as ginseng and guarana, yerba mate, etc.
Energy drinks rose to prominence in the U.S. in the late 1990s with the launch of Red Bull, which continues to lead the segment. Monster Energy, another category leader launched in 2002. In 2004, Living Essentials launched the energy shot 5-hour Energy. While many other energy shots have arrived on the market, 5-hour Energy continues to dominate the energy shot segment.
Today, price point is another difference between the two products. At the end of 2020, market research firm IRI reported that energy drinks retailed for around $2.50 to $3.00 at convenience stores, with category leader Red Bull ringing in at $2.67. Meanwhile energy shot prices have been on the rise. IRI reported that category leader 5-hour Energy retailed for $3.44 in 2020 at convenience stores. In second place for energy shot category sales, Tweaker rang in at $1.20, but some energy shot prices are pushing $6 today as ingredients become more complex.
Energy drinks and shots have traditionally targeted younger consumers between the ages of 18-35 years of age. But over the years, manufacturers have worked to appeal to a broader customer base by introducing energy drinks and shots with healthy ingredients and attributes like sugar-free, all-natural and gluten-free as well as increased functionality — from green-tea extract to botanicals and added protein to probiotics. Today customers can find energy shots that can help with focus, mood enhancement, workout recovery and immunity. As customer needs and preferences are changing the category is evolving with them.
Leading manufacturers of both energy shots and energy drinks are expected to continue expanding their product lines to entice customers with interesting flavor profiles and a range of performance characteristics to suit their preferences. For example, at the time of this writing Monster offered a wide range of energy lines, including Monster Rehab, Monster Ultra, Monster Maxx and Java Monster, among others. And it recently introduced new product Monster Energy Ultra Gold in zero sugar, which offers a ‘golden pineapple’ flavor.
Both energy shots and energy drinks are key beverage categories at convenience stores.