Companies operating in the Japanese soft drinks market are having to adapt to an environment undergoing significant changes. As well as a shrinking and ageing consumer base, demand in soft drinks is being affected by considerable shifts in consumer lifestyles and attitudes driven by factors such as growing female participation in the paid workforce and rising health-awareness.
Demand for greater convenience and healthier products were the two main influences on the development of soft drinks in Japan in 2018. Rising consumer health-awareness was a particularly prominent factor in shaping demand, underpinning the expansion of bottled water, RTD tea and Asian speciality drinks.
Coca-Cola (Japan) remained the leading player in soft drinks in the Japanese market in 2018. However, it witnessed ongoing erosion of its share in both volume and value terms during the year as it suffered from its significant exposure to the struggling carbonates, RTD coffee and sports drinks categories and the intensification of competition in growth areas such as bottled water and energy drinks.
The final year of the review period saw innovation continue to be influenced by rising consumer health-consciousness and the potential to utilise functional labelling, as with Pokka Sapporo Food & Beverage Ltd’s launch of Kireto Lemon Calcium brand extension in nectars, which was designated a “beverage with a nutritional function”. However, one of the most prominent new product developments in the Japanese soft drinks market in 2018 did not target the health and wellness trend.
Increasing consumer health-consciousness is set to remain a key driver of growth in soft drinks over 2018-2023, with bottled water, RTD tea and Asian speciality drinks forecast to be amongst the strongest performing categories on the back of products with a strong health-orientated positioning. Moreover, manufacturers are likely to focus on developing products and marketing activity founded on the delivery of increasingly precise health benefits as consumer health-awareness becomes more sophisticated.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Soft Drinks market research database.