Sports drinks in Hong Kong continues to benefit from the growing number of consumers taking part in sports and physical activity. Although some of the larger chains of gyms have struggled in recent years the city has seen strong growth in pay-as-you-go gyms, which offer consumers greater flexibility, as well as gym classes.
Although sports drinks continued to record healthy value growth in 2018 in off-trade volume terms the category registered slower growth than the review period average. A key factor behind this is the unhealthy image of these beverages that is being created by the media.
In order to add interest and differentiate themselves from the competition some players have been introducing new products. For example, Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong Ltd introduced a sparkling range of sports drinks under its Aquarius brand.
Japanese company Otsuka Holdings Co Ltd maintained its dominant position in sports drinks in 2018, despite growing competition from international brands such as Aquarius and Gatorade. The company’s Pocari Sweat brand is available in most grocery retailers and has benefited from the promotion of sports events and the hosting of its popular Pocari Sweat Run Carnival in Hong Kong in 2018, with these activities helping to build brand interest and awareness.
Sports drinks is a consolidated category in Hong Kong, with Aquarius from Swire Coca-Cola, Gatorade from PepsiCo Inc and Lucozade from Suntory Holdings Ltd being the other significant players. Gatorade and Lucozade compete by offering a range of different flavours while Aquarius has used aggressive marketing to build brand awareness.
Despite the consolidated competitive landscape there has also been growing competition from Japanese versions of products that have been imported by retailers 759 stores and Bestmart 360. These products include special editions and packaging that is not otherwise available in Hong Kong, with this gaining the attention of consumers who appreciate the uniqueness of these products.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Soft Drinks market research database.