Americans are gravitating to coffee, drifting from energy drinks for fuel during pandemic, Packaged Facts finds

Torri Donley

The slowdown in energy drink sales and corresponding uptick in coffee consumption can be traced back in large part to shifts in where consumers are shopping during the pandemic, but also to their emotional needs and the corresponding benefits each beverage offers, according to Packaged Fact’s US Beverage Market Outlook […]

The slowdown in energy drink sales and corresponding uptick in coffee consumption can be traced back in large part to shifts in where consumers are shopping during the pandemic, but also to their emotional needs and the corresponding benefits each beverage offers, according to Packaged Fact’s US Beverage Market Outlook 2020: Grocery Shopping & Personal Consumption in the Coronavirus Era​.

The report explains that energy drink sales have slowed – but are still growing year-over-year – during the pandemic because most are sold in convenience stores, which have experienced a dramatic drop-off in foot traffic since the coronavirus outbreak occurred.

“Some 56% of energy and sports sales are from c-stores, with energy drinks relying on the channel for about 70% of sales,”​ according to the report.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the initial panic wave, most consumers shifted grocery purchases to large grocery chains, mass merchandisers and club stores,”​ where they could purchase all their household needs in one stop, it adds. “Beverage sales in convenience stores, especially those linked to gas stations, have been hurt the most, as people are driving far less and core customers like laborers are not working in many areas.”

Wide distribution gives coffee an edge

Coffee, on the other hand, is sold in most of the places that shoppers have gravitated since the outbreak, including online – where Packaged Facts reports it does extremely well compared to other foods and beverages.

“Internet food sales are growing rapidly, but still represent a very small share of sales. E-commerce’s impact varies by category, ranging from less than 1% to 3% of sales. Coffee and tea sell the best, while dairy beverages and juices underperform,”​ the report notes.

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