The future of the global sports nutrition market

Sports nutrition marketA report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA) projects that the global market for sports and fitness nutrition supplements will reach $6.17 billion by 2018. It lists as a key driver something that has been noted in recent product launches, namely the ramification of the market in terms of product offerings, target consumers and sales outlets.

Sports nutrition offerings have historically followed the market. Until now, the people most devoted to sports and fitness was a select crew, certain physically-active groups like professional athletes or body builders. The exercise regime engaged in by most people has been fairly gentle by modern standards.

Every man in the street 

However, now many more ‘regular’ people are embracing far-ranging fitness goals even as, paradoxically, populations in the Western world continue to get fatter. According to the report, ‘the new customer groups that are increasingly becoming an area of interest for various sports and fitness nutrition supplement companies include weekend fitness or sports enthusiasts, and people who ‘re interested in maintaining their health by using supplement products.

‘With growing interest from such users, sports nutrition products – which were previously available only in gyms and health food stores – are now readily available in mainstream mass market outlets, such as supermarkets and convenience stores. Sports supplement manufacturers seeking a greater share of the market are therefore leveraging this trend and are investing substantially in research to develop novel products that can carry a natural claim.’

All things natural 

The report notes that product lines and marketing approaches are being overhauled to appeal to these new customers.  But, within this broad trend of reformulation and ramification, there’s an essential undercurrent.

‘An important trend is the growing demand for products containing natural ingredients. As consumers shift away from synthetic products, either in terms of food or supplements to products closer to nature, demand for natural/herbal supplements and products is growing at a rapid rate. This trend is particularly true for products containing various herbs and spices, specifically those used in Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda,’ state the report authors.

BRIC countries will be big 

From a global perspective, the GIA analysts maintain that demand for sports nutrition products is still concentrated in the West (especially in the US), but the opportunities for greatest growth lie in emerging markets (particularly the BRIC countries), which are growing faster than Western markets and are urbanising at a faster pace, too. These markets are immature, both from a sales channel perspective and from the viewpoint of potential segments of consumers.

‘Currently, the usage of sports supplements is mostly limited to the fitness-oriented groups such as body builders, athletes or regular gym goers in such countries. The availability of sports supplements is largely restricted to non-grocery retail channels, such as health food shops and the Internet,’ they note.

As far as regional markets are concerned, the report projects a 12 per cent CAGR in the Asia/Pacific region for sports and fitness nutrition products in the next five years.