North America and sports drinks rule the segment, but Asia-Pacific and sports food products are the growth areas to watch over the next five years.

Steve Myers, Senior Editor

February 10, 2016

3 Min Read
Sports Nutrition Market Growth Watch

By 2020 the  global sports nutrition market should reach US$33.6 billion in revenues on the back of a 7 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate), according to a new market report from Allied Market Research. The Asian Pacific (APAC) region is expected to grow the fastest, on the strength of increased incomes, and sports foods are expected to grow fastest among product categories at 11.1 percent during the period from 2015 to 2020.

In addition to predictions, the report, “World Sports Nutrition Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 - 2020," details the current sports nutrition market, which is dominated by North America with a 47-percent share thanks to high obesity ratio and increased health awareness among consumers. On the product side, sports drinks are the current champ and will continue to hold the top spot over the forecast period, despite the gains made by sports foods. Sports supplements are enjoying significant demand and will remain popular due to the increased number of health clubs and fitness centers worldwide, which function as primary distribution centers for supplements.

For those living under a rock in recent years: the consumer demographic in the sports nutrition market has been expanding. While athletes account for about 37 percent of global sales of sports nutrition products and recreational users 27 percent, the market has witnessed emergence of a new user group dubbed as “lifestyle users." These new consumers tend to use sports nutrition products as beverages, meal replacements or healthy snacks, rather than purely for exercise-related nutrition. This group of lifestyle users will grow faster than any other in the sports nutrition market, followed by the recreational users, according to the report, which cited the rise in health club and fitness center locations worldwide as a key growth driver. Overall, the report predicted a greater adoption of sports nutrition products by working mothers, on-the-go business people and outdoor enthusiasts.

 Where are they buying these sports nutrition products? I’m glad you asked. Besides gyms and fitness centers, there are numerous retail channels for these drinks, foods and supplements, including large retail and mass merchandisers; small retail, drug and specialty stores; and various online retailers. However, the report gave first prize to large retail & mass merchandise, which has a 32-percent share of the market.  “Mass merchandisers offer sports nutrition products at lower prices, which leads to higher sales," the firm said.

Small retail, which includes convenience stores, grocery stores, dollar stores and other small retail formats, is the second place source for sports nutrition consumers. The report explained convenience stores represent major distribution in a small retail format. Trailing, but rising are online sales, which will continue to benefit from developments in e-commerce technology and application.

When looking at sales channels for specific product types, the report tagged retail stores as the primary sales channel for sports drinks, and health clubs and fitness centers as the primary outlet for sports supplements.

Regionally, North America is expected to hold onto the lead in the worldwide sports nutrition market sales, despite a shift towards developing markets, including an APAC region expected to reach a 24-percent share by 2020. A transformation in lifestyle, economy and spending habits in Asian countries is credited with the growth rates, as higher disposable incomes, rising standards of living and greater indulgence in outdoor sports and fitness activities are expected to drive demand for sports nutrition products in this region.

Among the companies profiled in the report are The Coca-Cola Company, Abbott Nutrition Inc, PepsiCo Inc, Glanbia plc, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd, Post Holdings, Inc, GNC Holdings, Clif Bar & Company and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. In addition to expanding their consumer bases through advertising and product launches, some companies look to reformulation of existing products, such as foods, to reduce the amounts of certain ingredients like sugar and salt.  

About the Author(s)

Steve Myers

Senior Editor

Steve Myers is a graduate of the English program at Arizona State University. He first entered the natural products industry and Virgo Publishing in 1997, right out of college, but escaped the searing Arizona heat by relocating to the East Coast. He left Informa Markets in 2022, after a formidable career focused on financial, regulatory and quality control issues, in addition to writing stories ranging research results to manufacturing. In his final years with the company, he spearheaded the editorial direction of Natural Products Insider.

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