Tracking and monitoring new product development (NPD) is an important part of innovation strategy. Understanding where innovation is happening and who is innovating allows companies to benchmark with their portfolios and identify where opportunities lie and where to invest for continued success. Euromonitor has been tracking NPD in soft drinks online utilising SKU scraping capabilities, giving visibility to where NPD is emerging, the type of NPD happening, and which companies are expanding their portfolios and leading in terms of new product launches.
Using this information, brands can uncover trends in each tracked market and identify possible areas of future NPD investment.
Companies focus on finding new markets and retailers for existing products rather than new launches in 2022
A key trend evident in soft drinks in 2022 is that there were far fewer launches of new brands versus expansions of new variants. According to available data, new brands accounted for approximately 4% of e-commerce product launches in 2022, while launches of new variants, such as new flavours of an existing brand, accounted for approximately 16%.
However, it is important to have a view of new brand launches to inform competitive intelligence and strategic planning. Launching a completely new product to market carries with it a high degree of initial investment.
A view into where a competitor has made this investment and is succeeding de-risks decision-making when thinking through pipeline product development
With this in mind, let’s look at the new brands first found in global mainstream e-commerce, excluding marketplaces, in 2022.
Web scraping of online retailers identifies leading markets for soft drinks NPD
Using this web scraping technology of all new brand activity in 2022, we identified new brand launches among 32 in-scope markets.
Singapore, the US and India were the three countries with the highest number of new brands appearing stocked by online retailers in 2022
Source: Euromonitor International
According to Howard Telford, Senior Industry Manager for Soft Drinks at Euromonitor, Singapore’s lead in having new brands appear online is no surprise as consumers in the market “value new styles and formats of beverages”, making the country a long-standing attractive market for new brands to enter. In our Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, 57% of respondents in Singapore strongly agreed or agreed that they like to try new products. Because of this, Singapore is often used by beverage companies to test new products as the consumer base is likely to both seek variety and pay for novelty.
The second and third countries with the most new brand launches seen for the first time at e-commerce retailers in 2022, the US and India, are both heavily influenced by a continued demand for soft drinks with health claims, with consumers in India favouring ingredients for immune support and natural solutions for relaxation and stress relief, while consumers in the US look for brands with functional positioning, eg with claims such as energy, hydration, or calming effects.
Visibility of NPD by subcategory allows brands to plan future strategy
A view on which subcategories new brands are being launched in allows companies to identify areas of potential opportunity when planning for the launch and expansion of their existing products, as well as innovation pipeline prospects.
According to available data, new brand launches in 2022 were most prevalent in juice, carbonates and water, accounting for nearly two thirds of all launches, spurred by demand in leading markets. NPD in juice was bolstered by the infusion of immunity-boosting and functional ingredients, while water and carbonates continued to see strong demand as the growing middle class in developing markets and the aftershocks of the pandemic drove consumption of water, and carbonates remained strong in markets such as the US.
However, juice remains the leader in new product activity across launch types. Singapore, mentioned earlier, saw not only the highest number of new brand launches across categories in 2022, but in juice as well. This may, in part, be due to the characteristics of the market in terms of its reliance on imported products.
According to Howard Telford, “e-commerce product innovation in Singapore remains significant with a number of imported regional and global brands from the US, China, Korea and Japan entering the online market.”
One such brand was Korean juice brand, the Zoen, first detected launched in Singapore in June 2022. The brand was introduced in two flavours – Pomegranate, and Prune, Apple and Banana – and has remained in stock online at Singaporean retailers through to May 2023. Such findings allow companies to explore the categories and flavours which have been successful in specific markets, informing NPD and innovation strategy.
Tracking NPD across markets provides the data needed for innovation strategy
This is the first of a series of articles based on web scraping technology and its application to tracking global innovation across categories. In this article, we looked at new brand activity; however, variant expansions form a significant piece of the global view.
Web scraping technologies mean companies can understand product evolution trends, see how competitors are responding and identify areas of future innovation for their business
Look out for the next article in our NPD in innovation series highlighting how brands can track product expansions across markets, and how this can inform strategy for brands.
For more on e-commerce, read our white paper, How to Optimise Your Product Mix with Consumer Trends and E-Commerce Data, or attend one of our webinars, such as Mastering E-Commerce Growth: How to Win Online Amid Uncertainty.
Footnote: Based on data available as of 16 May 2022. Data exclude brand expansions on existing brands and marketplaces.