The US has overtaken Thailand as the global leader for energy drink sales, according to an industry report.

Zenith International said yesterday (5 December) that the global energy drinks market advanced 17% last year, with Thailand still leading in consumption per person, but the US registering the highest total volume sales.

Last year, US consumers drank 990m litres of energy drinks, 47% more than the previous year, including brands such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Full Throttle and SoBe No Fear, and 200m litres more than their Thai counterparts, the consultancy said. 

Zenith research director Gary Roethenbaugh said: "If the level of activity and product development in the US continues, it could represent 45% of worldwide volume in five years. We also expect to see double digit growth in East Europe and the Middle East, with Latin America, Australasia and West Europe making good gains too."

The report suggested that, with the rising popularity of the energy drinks category, the US could see consumption per person increase from the current 3-litre average to 8 litres by 2011. Other markets contending for a place in the top five highest consumers include Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Slovenia and Kuwait, Zenith said.

Roethenbaugh added: "Although US growth has been dominated by male-oriented energy drinks, manufacturers there are successfully tapping in to a wider trend towards healthier products and consumers are enjoying a new wave of all natural energy drinks with multiple health benefits. They are also extending their brands to appeal to a wider range of consumers."

Looking forward, Zenith said it expects each region to generate growth over the coming years, with global volume exceeding 5.7bn litres in 2011. The report revealed that just under half of this nearly 15% annual average growth is likely to stem from North America.