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Sports nutrition retail shift offers growth opportunities to brands taking new approaches

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Let’s face it: the world feels like it is changing faster and more aggressively than any other time in recent history. In the sports nutrition industry, iron-clad brands are now showing cracks in their armor. This is especially true for legacy sports nutrition brands.

These brands are feeling the squeeze to stay relevant against an onslaught of emerging competitors that have entered the market due to today’s lower barrier of entry. Over the past decade, the increasing popularity of e-commerce has made it easier for brands to sell their products directly to consumers. This direct connection has given rise to a plethora of sports nutrition startups, that are in turn fragmenting the market and fundamentally changing how consumers purchase products.

Gone are the days of generating a reliable, perpetual growth trajectory through the previous sales and marketing models that fueled decades of industry success. These legacy sports nutrition brands now face pressure as consumer behaviors shift and the channel landscape changes. To win in the coming years, sports nutrition legacy brands need to reduce their reliance on and diversify their offline channels. Despite sports nutrition products being a relatively difficult category for consumers to shop for online without prior product knowledge, online sales continue to dramatically increase.

This increase of the self-directed consumer has given online retailers like Amazon a further cognizance to invest in the category. Simply put, the main question pondered by most legacy sports nutrition brands is not whether they should have an e-commerce presence, but rather what level of presence they need to grow. Regardless, the sooner legacy sports nutrition brands start building an e-commerce strategy, the better they will be able to compete with more agile, digitally native challengers.

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