The mainstreaming of sports nutrition backed by the ever-rising importance of online reviews and ratings and social media validation, are key findings from a 6-pack of sports nutrition sub-sector reports published by Lumina Intelligence.
Mega-trends highlighted by the 20-country, market data-driven analyses include category blurring between sports nutrition and other sectors like energy, nootropics, e-gaming, the workplace and weight management along with the mounting sway of social media influencers, who brands are now engaging to assist with product formulation or to develop products aimed at women.
The importance of healthy volumes of positive online reviews and elevated star ratings to sports nutrition brand success reveals while some brands maintain an offline focus via traditional channels like health food and sports stores, gymnasiums and supermarkets, there is no escaping the influence of the online world.
According to Pew Research, 62% of 18 to 49-year-olds check online reviews and ratings and social media posts even if they end up making their purchases in brick-and-mortar outlets.
Make or break: The power of reviews and ratings
Lumina found the whole sports nutrition category which included plant and animal-based protein powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), probiotics, creatine and pre-workout blends had gathered some 2.5 million reviews in 20 countries, growing 15% in the six months between September 2018 and March 2019. In that period, growth in the Asia-Pacific was even more robust at 25%.
Some brands still have an offline focus via traditional channels: sports stores, gyms, supermarkets, etc. However, the importance of positive online reviews and rising star ratings to sports nutrition brand success proves that there is no escaping the influence of the world wide web.
One brand found that the whole sports nutrition category, which includes animal- and plant-based protein powders, probiotics, BCAAs, pre-workout blends, and creatine had gathered some 2.5 million reviews in 20 countries, growing 15% between September 2018 and March 2019.
Mexico (+200%), Taiwan (+193%) and Finland (+93%) were the fastest-growing markets in sports nutrition with protein powders (23%), and pre-workout blends (22%) the fastest-growing sub-categories.
PROBIOTICS → MORE REVIEWS
Probiotics are emerging in sports nutrition as science builds around the healthy bacteria’s ability to boost immune health, reduce inflammation and upper respiratory tract infections of athletes, and even help in areas like performance and recovery. While probiotic supplements are still considered niche, an organization observed that consumer engagement quickly climbed if products contained probiotics. In fact, four of the top 25 brand portfolios analyzed contained probiotics, and these products earned twice the number of reviews than those that did not.
CLEAN LABELS → MORE REVIEWS
The growth of clean label products corresponds with the rise in not only health-conscious consumers, but reviews as well.
Today, one fifth of all sports nutrition products make at least one clean label claim, and these products are reviewed twice as often as those without clean label claims.
Popular clean label statements include ‘no banned substances…’, “no artificial sweeteners…’ and ‘non-GMO.’ Keep this in mind when making your next collagen, pre-and post-workout, or branched-chain amino acid product! The trend is most robust in North America and Australia, led by top sports nutrition brands.
PRE-WORKOUTS PUSHING BEYOND SPORTS NUTRITION
Plenty of pre-workout blends are marketed to athletes and fitness fanatics. There’s a physical and mental stimulation promise from these products that has pre-workout mixes blurring with the burgeoning nootropic, energy, and e-gaming sectors—video games, who would have thought?!
Whether you’re targeting athletes or e-gamers though, keywording is #crucial to brand awareness. Does your company have an Instagram account?
Pre-workout powders are popular on social media with the ‘preworkout’ hashtag garnering around 4 million posts on Instagram ALONE.