The growing number of athletes and sports people will drive the growth of the market, aided by a set of more generally health-conscious consumers, according to research from Fortune Business Insights published this month.
“The sports drink market is poised for continued growth, driven by the intersection of sports, fitness, and health-conscious lifestyles. As consumers demand healthier and more sustainable options, brands will need to focus on innovation, sustainable practices, and health-oriented marketing.
"Customization and personalization will also play a significant role in the future of this industry, allowing companies to cater to a broader spectrum of consumers.”
From functional ingredients to tech innovations
What’s particularly interesting about the market, says Fortune Business Insights, is that it is evolving fast.
“The sports drink market is far from stagnant. Several innovations have emerged to meet evolving consumer demands.”
Firstly, there’s an appetite to explore functional ingredients: ranging from the obvious fits such as electrolytes to wider functional benefits.
“Drinks fortified with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals are being combined with functional ingredients like collagen, adaptogens, and probiotics, enhancing their appeal to health-conscious consumers.
“Market players are continuously exploring innovative ingredients such as plant-based electrolytes, natural sweeteners, and adaptogens to cater to evolving consumer preferences. These ingredients enhance the nutritional profile of sports drinks, attracting a wider customer base.”
Take, for example, the launch of Gatorade’s BOLT24: the low calorie, ‘advanced hydration solution’ free from artificial flavors and colors delivers its electrolytes from sea salt and watermelon.
Then there’s the opportunity to build up personalized hydration: which is of particular interest to athletes.
“Technology-driven companies are offering personalized hydration solutions, such as wearable devices that track sweat composition and provide recommendations for sports drink intake tailored to an individual's needs.”
The market in North America stood at $7.9bn in 2018 and is expected to remain dominant during the forecast period due to the increasingly health-conscious population in the region. Expect the market to be influenced by moves from major players such as Gatorade, PowerAde and BodyArmor.
Asia, meanwhile, is expected to see a high demand for sports drinks in the forthcoming owing to the rising disposable income in developing countries such as India, China and Japan. As with other markets, the increasing number of health-conscious consumers will also drive the market forward.
With opportunities for sports drinks coming from a wide range of consumer groups, brands need to be clear on who their target market is.
"Sports drink companies are focusing on specific consumer segments, including athletes, seniors, and children," notes the report. "Customized marketing strategies and packaging designs are tailored to appeal to these diverse demographics, increasing brand loyalty."
Another aspect to think about is a shift towards online sales and subscription models.
“Companies are increasingly exploring direct-to-consumer (DTC) models and subscription services to tap into the e-commerce trend, making it more convenient for consumers to access their favorite sports drinks.”
And with sustainability at the forefront of consumers’ minds, this is another area that brands need to focus on: with the report noting that “Eco-friendly packaging and sustainable sourcing of ingredients have become crucial in the sports drink market.”