What you need to know

Despite disruption to nearly all norms and routines in 2020, including sporting events and activities, sports and performance drinks consumption remained healthy, indicating that some wellness habits may die hard. The $10.7 billion sports and performance drinks market maintained its steady growth with estimated 7.1% gains. Although many consumers engage in the category, its core audience is not surprisingly largely active and focused on occasional, avid exercisers or athletes. Yet, as more holistic wellbeing remains firmly top of mind and the fight for share of functional beverages get fierce, brands in the category will need to play offense to expand the user base and occasions by tapping into a broader range of health benefits and clean, natural ingredients.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on Sports and Performance Drinks

  • Recessionary spending impact on sports and performance drinks

  • Consumption trends with sports and performance drinks

  • Important ingredient formulation in sports and performance drinks


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

Sports drinks: liquid drinks and drink mixes designed specifically to help people perform and recover better from physical activity (eg Gatorade or Powerade)

Performance drinks: liquid drinks and drink mixes marketed for enhanced sports performance, including both pre/post-workout beverages and performance protein drinks (eg Muscle Milk, Core Power)

The following are excluded from the scope of this Report:

  • Nutritional protein drinks (eg Boost, Ensure) and dietary supplements (eg SlimFast)

  • Performance-focused energy drinks (eg Bang, Reign)

  • Functional waters

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US. 

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April, remaining in place through May and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, nonessential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations.

During re-emergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021, until vaccines are more widely administered.

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