NEW YORK – Although the typical energy drink user is expected to be young and male, a surprising new demographic is emerging as a top consumer of these beverages: busy, young mothers.
New Nielsen Homescan data for the United States indicates that busy mothers and their households -- categorized as "Young Bustling Families" -- are more likely to use energy drinks than the average U.S. household. Their purchasing index is 150, higher than both "Young Transitionals" or young adults just coming out of college, and "Independent Singles" in their 20s and 30s.
Part of this finding may be due to the fact that younger consumers drink energy beverages on the go rather than at home. But the evidence is clear that busy moms represent another heavy user category akin to young males, Nielsen said. For many of these moms, the use of energy drinks is hidden, with the beverages kept in the pantry and consumed as a quick afternoon pick-me-up before the kids arrive home from school.
A primary reason for this "hidden" usage may be the desire to keep heavily caffeinated beverages out of the reach of their children. However, despite the fact that caffeine-related health concerns exist for adults as well, it doesn't deter young moms from the habit, whether this is due to an aversion to coffee's taste or calories, the need for a quick fix, or the pressure to "do it all" as the primary caregiver and increasingly, the primary breadwinner, according to the report.
While most energy drink companies know the Young Transitionals audience well, understanding the Young Bustling Families audience is critical to exploiting the emerging pockets of demand. 5-hour Energy recognized these consumption patterns and reached out to women with its Pink Lemonade flavor, from which a portion of sales are donated to the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade. Results exceeded expectations and prompted two additional production runs, according to 5-hour Energy.
Monster Energy also kept women in mind with the launch of Zero Ultra, a beverage with no sugar or calories, a sweeter, more refreshing flavor, and packaging consisting of a white can with "feminine design elements." Zero Ultra saw overwhelming success and prompted the release of a new Ultra Blue line, although plans for an Ultra Pink link were put on hold.
In the future, energy drink manufacturers are likely to boast the health benefits of their offerings on the label to shift their products' empty-calorie perception and convert soda drinkers, Nielsen stated. However, while this may fuse some short-term consumer interest, if the market doesn't create differentiated offerings and unique brands that consistently cater to counterintuitive customers such as young moms, it is likely to see a saturation point in the near future, halting the segment's rapid growth.