Sports drinks have gained popularity among professional athletes and couch potatoes alike. While this type of drink was targeted for athletes to stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise, many ordinary consumers reach for sports drinks to be consumed with their meals. In fact, you can now find Powerade available at the soda machine of many fast-food restaurants, including Wendy’s.

In 2020, the total market size for sports drinks was USD $26.24 billion dollars where a significant growth of 7.7% in consumer size was noted in 2020. The future for sports drinks looks bright as the market is projected to grow through 2028 with an estimated value of USD $36.35 billion.

Powerade is a sports drink produced and marketed by The Coca-Cola Company with Gatorade of Pepsi Cola being its main competitor. According to Euromonitor data from 2020, Gatorade’s share for the US sports drinks category was 72.1% with Powerade lagging at distant second at 16.1%. Powerade’s brand mission is to “champion the power of sports for all.” With that, the brand has continuously developed its product line and flavors since its launch in 1988. Let’s take a look at this brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to evaluate the performance of this business so far.

SWOT Analysis Topics: 

Powerade SWOT Analysis 


Powerade featured on CNN during a rebranding.


Innovation – Innovation has been one of the many strengths of Powerade. From the time of its introduction in 1988, the brand has made several new changes in its product line in an effort to increase market share.

In July 2001, Powerade released a sports drinks formula incorporating vitamins B3, B6, and B12 with the goal of improved energy metabolism. Using a 2000 calorie per day diet, this sports drink contains 10% of one’s daily value of vitamins B3, B6, and B12. These vitamins have different roles in a person’s system: vitamin B3 is for digestion and for converting food into energy, vitamin B6 is for the creation of red blood cells, and vitamin B12 is for red blood cell count maintenance.

In April 2005, Powerade made another innovation with its distinct bottle design with the new 20-oz. sport-grip bottle, making it easier for consumers to hold and grip the drink. This new bottle was met with enthusiasm since it incorporated what the market wanted: a bottle that is easy to grip and open while on the move.

The new bottle’s functionality showed the company’s commitment to putting their consumers’ needs first. It showed that Powerade was determined to be innovative and defy convention. There were also changes made in the way the label were applied to the bottle. Labels that were more tight-fitting were used so as not to allow water to be trapped under the label making the beverage difficult to grip.

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Powerade has developed several flavors from its original ones which were Lemon Lime, Fruit Punch, and Tropical Mango. Fast forward to the present and Powerade has 16 various flavors in the USA that help consumers rehydrate and replenish electrolytes. There also are 6 more flavors of Powerade Zero sold in the USA.

Powerade has an internationally recognized brand and are present in Australia, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Iceland, Germany, and Greece. Powerade’s flavors are tastier and more appealing to consumers compared to its competitors.

In July 2005, Powerade Option was launched. This was marketed to provide customers with a sports drink that is low in calories and carbohydrates. By using a blend of Sucralose, Ace-K, and HFCS, Powerade Option had fewer carbohydrates and 80% less calories than the leading competitor. Powerade Option did not only bank on its functional benefit, but competed with the flavors used in its launch and preferred by the consumer public. These flavors were Strawberry and Black Cherry.

fat leaf water

Fat Leaf Water lineup of sports beverages. A competitor to Powerade.

In 2007, Powerade Zero was introduced to the market. This product was sold as a sports drink that contained no carbohydrates, no sugar, and no calories without losing its rehydration benefits.

In March 2016, Powerade launched another new product, the Powerade Ion4. This was marketed to be containing 4 electrolytes – Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium – and was targeted to give one fast hydration and energy while retaining one’s body fluids.

In 2020, Coca-Cola launched two more Powerade beverage lines with updated plastic bottles for a sleeker look: Powerade Ultra for those focused on building strength and Powerade Power Water for casual athletes like those who jog and do yoga. This move was a play to broaden the beverages appeal to a broader range of consumer types.

Sponsorships – Powerade has many sponsorships to its name. It was the official sports drink of the 1988 Olympics, the Australian rugby league team and the Australian union team, NASCAR, FIFA, and many other teams around the world. If there is a major sports league you can think of, Powerade has probably helped sponsor it.

Corporate brand power – Powerade has a strong and credible corporate brand name since Coca-Cola is a global leader in the soft drinks business. If a product is produced by Coca-Cola, it means the beverage has advantages of scalable production and global distribution. This has given Powerade beverage an advantage over would-be competitors in the space.


High-fructose corn syrup – The amount of sugar in Powerade Option and its leading competitor Gatorade is about equal. However, consumers believe that Powerade tastes sweeter than the said competitor because it uses high-fructose corn syrup, which tastes sweeter than dextrose sugar that’s found in similar drinks.

Unhealthy products – Powerade Ion4 is helpful to athletes who need to replenish their electrolytes, carbohydrates, and vitamins. However, critics say high levels of sodium and sugar in this sports beverage make it detrimental to one’s health, and may not compensate for the advantage given by the drink in replenishing fluid losses and electrolytes lost in sweat.

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There’s also the use of artificial colors and sweeteners can lead to an increase in insulin resistance and other health issues like hyperactivity in children. The two sweeteners used in Powerade Zero, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium, though FDA approved are cited as reasons some consumers don’t drink the product.

Lacking in promotions – Powerade does not go all out to come up with promotions to let the consuming public know of the brand’s different products. Instead of advertising the salable qualities of its product line, some promotions take an offensive stand against the brand’s major competitor.


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