Rising demand for energy drinks is not likely to be damaged by the global economic downturn as more soft drinks players are attracted to the category, according to beverage market research group Canadean.

Consumption of energy drinks worldwide is expected to rise by nearly 10% this year, despite economic uncertainty and falling consumer spending power in many markets, Canadean said in a report published this week.

Consumption is set to rise by an average 9.3% per year between 2008 and 2013, it added.

The group said: "Upsizing in serving volume, the entry of more private label and B brand products, plus strong support from the multinational players, are all factors pushing up consumption."

Energy drinks market leader, Red Bull, said last month that sales increased by 8% to EUR3.323bn (US$4.309bn) in 2008. Volumes rose by 13%, with the strongest growth reported in the Far and Middle East regions, as well as South America.

The Austria-based firm said that its investment and growth plans for 2009 remained "very ambitious".

Over in the US, California-based drinks firm Hansen Natural reported 14% growth in net sales for 2008, largely, it added, driven by its Monster Energy drinks brand. Monster is now number two behind Red Bull on the US market.

Hansen has begun a distribution partnership for Monster with Coca-Cola Enterprises and The Coca-Cola Co, covering several US states and parts of Western Europe, including the UK.

PepsiCo, meanwhile, announced in February that it would take over distribution for Rockstar energy drink in most of the US and Canada. Rockstar was previously distributed by Coca-Cola Enterprises.