The total revenue from the Nootropics category stayed relatively steady for most of 2019, without any major variability. In 2020, however, the category saw higher fluctuations in revenue.
Overall revenues dropped by over 14% in February, which was likely due to a combination of seasonality and the initial logistical issues from the sudden outbreak of a global pandemic. It immediately bounced back in March with 14% growth and started seeing incredible growth from there on out, with monthly increases of up to 14% until December, when revenues finally saw a decline of 10%. The category rebounded again to start the year, with an average of 6% month-over-month growth for January and February of 2021.
Among delivery methods in the category, capsules are unarguably the dominant form, with over 60% market share in both 2019 and 2020. In the first two months of 2021, its share has grown further, accounting for almost 65% of the category. Liquid and powder, the second and third bestselling delivery methods, have seen their market shares shrink by 3% and 4%, respectively, over the past two years. Softgels and tablets were ranked as the fourth and fifth formats in revenue. While proceeds from the former stayed essentially the same, the revenue from the latter has steadily increased.
Most of the products in the nootropics category are labeled with their targeted need states— specifically, memory, focus, energy, mood or any combination of these four.
Products that only target memory lead in revenue, and their market share has grown steadily over the past two years.
The second-bestselling target is a combination of focus and memory; its market share grew from 18% to almost 23% over the same time period. Meanwhile, the combination of energy and memory, which is the third bestselling, saw a decrease of 2% in market share. Mood did not show up frequently in the bestselling list of targets; the highest-ranking target that included mood was the combination of mood and focus, which saw a jump from 1% to 5% in market share. The products that targeted singular need states other than memory (energy, focus and mood) represented much smaller market shares of 3%, 2% and 1%, respectively.
In terms of brands, only 18 of the total 348 brands had market shares above 1%. These 18 brands accounted for approximately 56% of the total category, while the other 330 brands made up the remaining 44%.
The Genius Brand and Bulletproof, the top two bestselling brands, both saw declines of 4% and 2%, respectively, in market share over the past two years. The third bestselling brand, Onnit Labs, experienced revenue growth of 3%. In fact, six of the top 10 brands experienced market share growth in the past year. Specifically, Neuriva and Vital Vitamins saw their market shares more than double. These brands serve as great examples of how smaller brands can make it big in a market that is not fully saturated.
The top 20 Amazon standard identification numbers (ASINs) collectively outperformed the category in the first half of 2020, and later underperformed the category in the second half of 2020. ASIN B07WP7Q5BF from Onnit Labs jumped from the 26th-ranked item in 2019 to become the bestselling product within a year—it is the only ASIN from Onnit Labs in the top
20 list. All of the top 10 bestselling ASINs are from the top 10 brands, while five of the next 10 bestselling ASINs are from smaller brands in the category such as Zhou Nutrition and Quincy. ASINs from smaller players in the category saw much higher quarter-over-quarter growth compared with those ASINs from bigger brands.
Among the list of the top 20 bestselling ASINs, those with delivery methods other than capsules—such as liquid, powders and tablets—either stayed steady or declined in revenue over the past year. Seventeen ASINs target memory in the top 20, while eight ASINs in the same list target focus. Only two ASINs in the top 20 targeted mood, and both of those had at least one other target.
Much room exists for smaller brands to grow in the nootropics category, as the leading brands have recently been underperforming compared to the category and the market is far from saturated.
Memory is and likely will continue to be the bestselling target, while mood is not necessarily a target consumers are seeking in the nootropics category. Capsules are projected to be the leading delivery method, as market shares in liquid and powder products have not shown signs of significant growth
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This article was originally shared in Natural Products Insider’s April 2021 Digital Magazine. Download the complete magazine here.
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