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Energy Drinks:

The New Coffee

An Analysis of the Energy Drink Market and its Consumer

Crystal D. Benizri
Dr. Sinha MKTG 3596
September 20, 2012
Currently, throughout America, there has been a large, ever-growing energy drink
market. Coffee is out and energy drinks are in! The top four brands that are leading this new
trend are Redbull, Rockstar, Monster, and 5-hour energy shots. Each carries a similar product
and as a whole target a consumer between the ages of 18-24 (some studies show, 18-36).
Research shows the demographics consist of white people and, even more so, males that are
drawn to this product. The brands are focused on suburban and urban areas although in terms of
income it is an unusual situation because they are not worried about the target consumer as much
as they are the parents. More often than not, these are students that are supported by their
parents, otherwise young adults with jobs. The product is affordable therefore it is easily
attainable. When dividing these consumers into three different categories and focusing on
psychographics we find: The Procrastinators, The Gods, and The Body Abusers.
The Procrastinators are typically high school students as well as freshman and
sophomores in college. They are unorganized and wait until the last possible minute to get their
work completed. One will find these people seem to always be flustered and in a rush. The
Procrastinators are immature in terms of their studies. They may take the studies seriously, but
they have not yet figured out how to manage their time. Their grades are normally Cs and Bs
making them average students. These people seek to reduce their mental fatigue and often find
themselves overwhelmed and stressed out because they are so easily distracted by social medias,
technology, and simply not wanting to do their homework. The Procrastinators gravitate towards
Red Bull not only because it gives you wings but also because Red Bull is the biggest market
and has become the norm of energy drinks. It is what they are used to and they are not easily able
to accustom to change due to their unorganized lives; change is only another factor to manage.
The Gods believe energy drinks will help them accomplish everything and give them a
sense of invincibility. Their lives are rich with parties, social statuses, and bad judgment. Young
males seeking ego boosts, hyper masculinity, and jocks can be thrown into this category. Their
lives are fast-paced and they enjoy being the center of attention. These are the kids one will find
mixing energy drinks with alcohol because they believe it will help them party harder and longer
without getting drunk. Their priorities are not straight with their studies at the bottom of the list
and their social status at the top. Energy drinks will help them accomplish anything and
everything. These people always say, Yes. The energy drinks taking this segment by storm are
Rockstar and Monster and with their slogans Party like a Rockstar and Unleash the Beast it
is not hard to see why.
The Body Abusers take life seriously, almost too seriously. They tend to pile too much on
their plates and are the definition of busy! This is the juniors and seniors of college as well as
young businesspeople. They are hard workers who are highly motivated and determined. They
stay at work late and seek to achieve the best they possibly can in their given environment. Their
focus is success. The Body Abusers lack sleep, often suffer from insomnia, are always on-the-go,
and are quite structured. They understand how to manage their time, but work themselves to
point of abuse. They do not leave time for relaxation and are constantly thinking of productive
things they could be doing. These people do not want to disappoint their families, their
professors, their bosses, or themselves. Their energy drink of choice is often 5-hour energy
drinks whose not-so coincidental slogan is Made for Hard Working People.
Understanding the demographics and psychographics of these energy drinks makes the
positioning in the marketplace that much more intriguing. I took the time to go to a local WaWa
to get a first-hand view of the positioning. One full door of the refrigerator is devoted to energy
drinks. At eye-level the first energy drink you notice is Red Bull. Not only is it the first energy
drink you see, but it takes up nearly 25% of the area carrying onto over four shelves. This is not
surprising considering Red Bull leads the energy drink market holding about 42.6% of the
market share. Rockstar and Monster take up about a row each, close to the bottom and are mixed
amongst a variety of other low caliber energy drinks. What was even more interesting was how,
despite the size difference, all of Red Bulls products are nearly identical same shape and same
color. The only differences that can be found are when you look closely at the tin cans some read
sugar free. Rockstar and Monster, on the other hand, have several varieties with different
colors. Rockstars classic star logo can be viewed instantly which makes it easy to identify
considering the name is around the can and could be harder to identify. Monster had different
names for each drink they carry that can be classified by the vibrant blues, greens, and oranges
they use shadowing the large M on the front of their product. Some changes I noticed were
incorporations of pinks and purples which were aimed towards a female audience. Although
these products are at the bottom of the fridge they were significantly more eye-catching than the
market leader Red Bull making their location almost irrelevant. 5-hour energy drinks are
nowhere near the fridges, not on the shelveswhere could they be? They are cleverly placed in
small, red, 1-2oz. containers right next to the cash register. If it was not prevalent 5-hour energy
is trying to market themselves to the on-the-go person it is now. The shots are small, portable
and there for each customer to see whether they walk about the store, buy gas or purchase a pack
of cigarettes. Anyone who is making a purchase will come into contact with the energy shots. To
my surprise, not too far from the shots another small bottle caught my eye. It was none other than
Red Bull in a shot form as well! It looked exactly like their original product but in mini form. It
is obvious Red Bull is trying to appeal to the hardworking motif that 5-hour energy embodies
and broaden their market. Not only did this further prove the target segments for each brand, but
it also displays a great, real life example of the direct correlation to the marketing mix strategies.
There is more to these brands than simply identifying the market segments and placement. What
are the drivers that persuade the consumer to choose an energy drink?
Like any brand, it is vital to find the specific motives and needs that accompany a
purchase. For each of these energy drinks there is an undeniable physiological arousal motivating
the purchase. The consumers are feeling sleepy, drowsy and need a quick fix to wake them up.
One can argue that this particular motive is most prominent in purchasers of 5-hour energy. As
previously stated, 5-hour energy is right beside the cash register. This means that the red color
attracts the consumers eye and upon seeing it reminds them that they are tired, fatigued and can
have a quick 5-hour lasting energy boost. This energy shot also encourages The Body Abusers
desire of self-actualization. When thinking of the market segment this brand addresses, these are
people who are busy, working hard, and seek success. This little bottle can help reach the point
of self-actualization because it keeps their energy high so that they can accomplish all they desire
to; it is their fuel. Rockstar and Monster focus more on emotional arousal and outward egoistic
needs. It is possible social needs can apply, but more likely The Gods find themselves already
feeling accepted and now need to feed their ego. These consumers daydream of achieving high-
status and the recognition of being the party starters, Rockstars and Monsters. When they are
feeling a sense of low energy an emotional arousal takes place to purchase Rockstar or Monster
and get them on the path of becoming the dominant characters they are. Red Bull appeals more
to the safety needs and inward egoistic needs. Red Bull, attracting The Procrastinators, is a
familiar product and aids the consumer to feel a sense of stability and routine in their
unorganized lives. When the consumers feel they are not fulfilling their goals due to lack of
sleep, low energy or lack of motivation, Red Bull gives them the wings to get on track FAST.
A high sense of self-esteem and success are the results since they are aware of the procrastination
but are still finding ways to complete their tasks thus feeding the habit. These companies
skillfully market their brands as a fuel that can guide their consumers to achieving all their
desires. Sleep is obsolete.

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