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Seasonal sippage, online beverage sales up 38 percent year-on-year

by Rory Plewman - February 23, 2019

Image credit: Drew Taylor (via Unsplash)

Thirsty for data? Let’s look at the beverages packing the nation’s coolers this sunny season. Whether it’s sipping a tumbler of sweet summer ice tea or enjoying a mug of steamy winter cocoa, Slice data shows that seasonality impacts beverage choices significantly. In the warmer months beer, sport, and energy drinks account for significant portions of online beverage sales; while wine and spirits flow during the holidays.

Rain or shine, online beverage sales are up 38 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017 making it one of the online CPG market’s bubbliest categories. Coffee, with its shipping-friendly, lightweight packaging, accounts for 41 percent of online beverage sales.

Red Bull savages the competition with stunning yearly growth

Energy drinks are becoming a summer staple as Slice data shows that sales rise during the warmer months. Interestingly Red Bull and XS, made by Amway, dominate the online energy drink market, accounting for over 48 percent of online energy drink sales over the past year. Both boast similar caffeine concentrations, around 90 milligrams of caffeine per can, and are generally purchased in bulk. According to Slice data, consumers who purchased energy drinks online spent an average of $22.65 per order, slightly more than the cost of buying a 12-pack of Red Bull on Amazon.

Surprisingly XS, a ‘healthy alternative energy source’, boasted an eight percent market share lead over Red Bull at the beginning of 2016. Red Bull has displayed stunning growth over the past year however, jumping from a 17 percent market share in the first quarter of 2016 to just under 25 percent a year later. No other direct competitors showed any signs of market share growth during that period, with XS, 5 HourEnergy, and Monster losing two to three percent since the beginning of 2016. In total, energy drinks accounted for 3.3 percent of online beverage sales over the past year.

Caffeine craving millennials drive online energy drink sales

Boasting significantly more caffeine than traditional pick-me-ups, energy drinks are not to be imbibed by the feint, or weak, of heart. So, it’s rather unsurprising that millennials account for a large majority of online energy drink sales, beating out Gen X as the generation in greatest need of a daily synthetic boost. Red Bull and Monster, two major players in the world of extreme sports, tend to skew younger than their competitors XS and 5 Hour Energy, both of whom have yet to make a significant foray into the world of extreme sports such as powerboat racing and squirrel suit diving.

LaCroix bubbles to the top of the enhanced water market

For those not looking to catapult themselves into a catatonic caffeine state, sparkling water is a healthy alternative that has gained significant traction amongst online consumers, outpacing other beverage categories with 64 percent year-on-year growth. Cult favorite LaCroix has emerged as a market leader over the past few quarters, as Perrier and Bai vie for the number-two slot in the enhanced water market.

About this data

With a panel of over 4.7 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world.