While the growing number of Japanese people engaging in regular exercise and sporting activity would seem to present significant growth opportunities for sports drinks. However, the category saw year-on-year decline in both volume and value terms throughout the review period, and is expected to go on shrinking between 2018 and 2023.
A key challenge for manufacturers of sports drinks is the problem of expanding consumption occasions beyond exercise and sporting activity. Again, the wide and increasingly diverse range of rival products which resonate more strongly with prevailing demand trends presents a significant obstacle to sports drinks’ development.
While the category’s relation to sporting activity and exercise may seem to place it in a strong position to benefit from the prominent health and wellness trend in the Japanese market, sports drinks are also feeling the negative impact of rising consumer health-awareness. Sports drinks products are widely perceived as less healthy than alternatives, as they contain high levels of sodium, sugar and calories and are out of step with the move towards products with a natural positioning.
Coca-Cola (Japan) Co Ltd remained the leading player in sports drinks in 2018, though it saw its share eroded as a result of declining sales in both volume and value terms. Given the limited prospects for expansion in the category and the company’s growing focus on products targeting the health and wellness trend, Coca-Cola is unlikely to invest strongly in the development of its market-leading Aquarius brand during the forecast period.
Otsuka Holdings Co Ltd was the most dynamic player in sports drinks in both volume and value terms in 2018. Indeed, thanks to the growth of its Pocari Sweat brand, the company was one of only two players to register a positive performance in either volume or value terms in the category during the year – the other being Meiji Co Ltd.
In contrast to Otsuka Holdings’ Pocari Sweat, Meiji Co Ltd’s Vaam brand managed to perform relatively strongly in sports drinks at the end of the review period because of its specialist positioning. Vaam contains an amino acid supplement that is claimed to help to turn body fat into energy when consumed before relatively long-term exercise such as long-distance running, cycling and football.
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Discover the latest market trends and uncover sources of future market growth for the Sports Drinks industry in Japan with research from Euromonitor's team of in-country analysts.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Soft Drinks market research database.