Probiotics: Rising Category with Room to Innovate

Probiotic functional foods and dietary supplements have become increasingly popular due to their claimed health benefits relating to intestinal health, lactose intolerance symptoms, and enhancement of immune response. Rising consumer awareness fuels the growth of the probiotics market. According to ClearCut’s database, probiotics sellers on Amazon altogether generate almost $400 million in revenue with a fairly stable average 3.6% MoM growth rate over the past year.

As the COVID-19 crisis hit, ongoing research has revealed that more extensive usage of probiotics among the public could potentially be effective in scaling down the burden and severity of this pandemic. The Amazon data reflects wider recognition and adoption of this idea from the consumers.

The average MoM growth rate in probiotics sales revenue from March to August 2020 was 5.9%, as opposed to 1.3% from the six months prior. Even adjusting for seasonality, the average MoM growth rate from March to August 2019 was 0.3%, much lower than 5.9%. 

Specifically, significant surges were seen in March with a MoM rate of 12.7%, followed by April and August, with 9.8% and 7.2% growth respectively. Along with other major changes in consumer behaviors due to the pandemic, such as increasing e-commerce traffic, the continual growth of probiotics sales on Amazon should be expected. Thus far, there is no solid scientific rationale that probiotics alone could directly protect, prevent, or treat COVID-19 infection. Nonetheless, healthcare experts strongly suggest that maintaining and reinforcing the immune system is important. Moreover, as more consumers are looking to combine a healthy and balanced diet with prebiotics, probiotics, and vitamins, there exist more opportunities for companies that only sell probiotics products to expand the scope of their businesses.

Probiotics are sold in many forms. Currently, capsules are the most widely used among sellers on Amazon. 66% of units sold were capsules, representing 72% of the total revenue, followed by 10% in powder form, generating 7% of revenue. Chewables and gummies represent 6% and 5% of units sold, respectively. Most smaller brands offer probiotics in one delivery method. 

There is also research that shows that different age groups and genders may need to take different potencies, dosages, bacterial strains, etc. On Amazon, 23% of the total revenue came from products that did not target a distinct consumer group. 46% was made for adults, followed by 15% for women, and 9% for children-specific probiotics. Probiotics designed especially for male consumers, on the other hand, took up only 1.2% market share.

Given that market shares are distributed quite evenly among smaller brands, outside of the 32% currently occupied by the top 4 brands, there remains plenty of room in the probiotics market on Amazon for the former to grow. Up-and-coming brands should seize the opportunities that pandemic and rising consumer awareness bring along. They should also focus more on R&D related to delivery methods, potency, and more. If you’d like to learn more about these category insights, contact us today for a walkthrough of our analytics.