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Dec 19, 2011 / Richard Hall

Monster to overtake Red Bull … again

It wasn’t so long ago I made the bold prediction that Monster would outsell Red Bull on the US market in volume.

Now it looks as if Monster will also topple Red Bull’s US lead in value.

Beverage Digest reports Monster as having a 37.0% volume share to Red Bull’s 24.5% in the first nine months of 2011. Red Bull’s value share is an ever strong 32.6%, but Monster has improved to 28.2%.

The research does not cover all outlets, but Monster does seem to be closing the gap fast.

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  1. Rob Murray / Dec 19 2011

    Interesting view.
    However there are many other factors to consider.

    Monster’s COGs must be significantly higher than Red Bulls, thus their breakeven is much further away.

    Monster is finding significant challenge in breaking into international markets.
    Its success in large population markets like France and Germany has been underwhelming considering the massive upfront investment.

    Similarly, its success in high ‘consumption per capita’ markets like UK, Ireland and Middle East has not been impressive considering its almost 4 years in market.

    Its attempt to challenge Red Bull in the pubs has been massively costly and hasn’t yielded anything of note here in Britain. Wetherspoons are the shop window and thats about it.

    ….New distribution is a wonderful way to hide a questionable like-for-like performance

  2. Rich,

    I wanted to ask your opinion on a fundamental business issue when it comes to ‘beverage wars’, as they say. My question is this: which is more important, the taste of the drink, or how it is marketed? You predicted that Monster would outsell Redbull, but is this just about marketing dollars thrown at the war? Is there any data to show how relevant the actual consumer preference is?

    BTW, I would love to have you as a guest writer in our newsletter which goes to several thousand food and beverage industry professionals. Let me know if that is of interest.


    • Richard Hall / Jan 4 2012

      Thanks, Alicia

      Taste is crucial. Marketing, often less so. The rest of the picture includes convenience, value, function, communication and emotion. For energy drinks the key word may be relevance, though I rather like the word possession. Is it relevant to me ? Do I possess it ? Different people possess Red Bull and Monster in different ways. Marketing wars are fun for journalists, but many consumers don’t perceive them.

      I’d be interested in hearing more about your newsletter and would be delighted to reach a wider audience.

      • Maya / Nov 24 2012

        They put so much sugar and caffeine in those dkrins, it is sure to effect blood sugar levels and rot teeth. Not to mention caffeine increases your heart rate.The diet energy dkrins are no good either, as chemicals in artificial sweetener have been linked to kidney failure (saw that on the news)

        • Richard Hall / Nov 26 2012

          You seem to have condensed a series of online myths into a highly concentrated cocktail of unscientific supposition. I find the overwhelming combination of independent research, regulatory approvals and consumer response far more potent and reassuring. R

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