Energy drinks sales in Western Europe are set to soar by 12% this year, according to industry analysts Zenith International.

The UK-based consultancy has forecast that 428m litres of energy drinks will be sold in the region this year. Such a jump would follow last year's 15% leap in volumes, which took the value of the energy drinks category in Western Europe to EUR3bn (US$3.88bn).

"Strong marketing, wider distribution, the challenge of newer brands and increasing consumer acceptance have been key contributors to recent growth," said Zenith Research director Gary Roethenbaugh today (23 November).

"Although Red Bull's supremacy remains, it has witnessed some erosion of market share. Various other brands and supermarket own labels have now been available long enough to have carved out their own niche and secure their presence," he added.

Red Bull commands over 60% of the energy drinks sales in Western Europe. The three largest markets in the region are the UK, Germany and Spain. Last year, sales in France, Norway, Finland and Ireland jumped 20%.

According to Zenith's findings, Austrian consumers had the strongest thirst for energy drinks, with per capita consumption standing at 4.5 litres last year.