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    After years of skyrocketing sales, energy shots appear to have leveled off

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News
    Five Hour Energy, sour apple flavor

    Once the darling of the health and beauty care category, energy shots skyrocketed to the top of the charts just a few short years ago. However, fast-forward to the latest sales figures and the segment seems to have come back down to earth.

    Energy shots, liquid vitamins and supplements trudged along in 2012, according to the latest Convenience Store News Industry Report. The segment rang up $2,978 in average sales per store for a 1-percent decline compared to the previous year. The falling-off was attributed to negative publicity surrounding energy drinks and shots, as well as oversaturation in the segment.

    At their height, the popularity of these products propelled the segment to a 92-percent increase in per-store sales between 2008 and 2009. The average c-store sold $1,863 worth of energy shots in 2009. Strong sales of energy shots continued in 2010 and 2011, reaching $2,541 and $3,007 in average sales per store, respectively, according to past CSNews Industry Reports.

    2012 marked the first year that energy shots posted a sales decline in the convenience channel.

    As the dust settles, few energy shot brands remain standing. One brand that is staying put is 5-hour Energy. This energy shot line is available at retail outlets throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and South Africa.

    Convenience stores account for about 50 percent of sales of 5-hour Energy products, which are distributed by Living Essentials LLC and available in a variety of flavors.

    So, what has contributed to 5-hour Energy’s staying power as other energy shots have fizzled? A key driver has been the support 5-hour Energy has received from its customers, according to Melissa Skabich, the brand’s director of communications.

    “Many knockoffs have come and gone over the years. The 5-hour Energy products were the first to market, people love them, and Living Essentials continues to come up with new flavors and programs to engage consumers,” Skabich said.

    Additionally, the company not only runs its own community service outreach — the 5-hour Energy Helps Amazing People Program — but also partners with other nonprofits such as Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Operation Gratitude and The Special Operations Warrior Foundation. “All of which resonate with consumers and contribute to brand loyalty,” she added.

    The rollercoaster ride of energy shots has many in the convenience store industry wondering if another up-and-coming product is in for a similar ride. Electronic cigarettes appear to be following the same path of energy shots, just at a steeper angle.

    According to data provided to CSNews by The Nielsen Co., 69.1 percent of active e-cigarette UPCs were new as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 26, 2011, 40.9 percent as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 24, 2012 and 32.5 percent as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 23, 2013.

    In comparison, energy shots saw a less-steep decline: 25.5 percent of active energy shot UPCs were new as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 26, 2011, 16.4 percent as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 24, 2012 and 14.8 percent as of the 52 weeks ended Nov. 23, 2013.

    By Melissa Kress, Convenience Store News
    • About Melissa Kress Melissa Kress joined EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News in November 2010. Her primary beats include alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Kress has been a professional journalist since 1995. A graduate of West Virginia University, she began her career in community journalism before moving to business-to-business publishing in 2000, covering commercial real estate.

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