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Resource Type: Case Studies

CASE STUDY

Myprotein’s £1M to £125M Journey with Localized NPD

Myprotein conquered Japan in six years, becoming the #1 foreign sports nutrition brand. Leveraging data, they created flavors Japanese consumers loved, boosting sales and customer engagement.

 

Discover their secrets to cultural adaptation and international success in this case study.

+124M

revenue

#1

market leader

75K

customers engaged

March 4, 2024

Anastasia Hamurari

Cracking the land of the rising sun

The Japanese sports nutrition market, boasting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10% since 2013, presents a lucrative opportunity for brands looking to internationalize.

Shifting from a protein powder-centric landscape towards diversified categories like bars and ready-to-drink (RTDs) beverages, the market caters to a growing health and wellness consciousness.

Within this dynamic space, key trends include: 

  • Emphasis on functionality and convenience: Consumers seek products that offer specific health benefits and are easily incorporated into their busy lifestyles. 
     
  • Rising popularity of plant-based options: Aligned with broader sustainability concerns, demand for plant-based protein powders and bars is on the rise. 
     
  • Local flavors and preferences: Japanese consumers have distinct taste preferences, favoring unique flavors like matcha and Hokkaido milk tea.  

Major players like Meiji and Morinaga dominate, but foreign brands are increasingly finding success through deep localization.

Riding the growing wave of health and wellness awareness, Myprotein entered the Japanese market in 2016. This UK-based sports nutrition brand has achieved remarkable success in Japan, becoming the #1 market outside of the UK, through leveraging localization strategies and the complete commerce platform supplied by THG Ingenuity.

Learn what key strategies Myprotein used to succeed in a foreign market below. 

Multiple variations of Myproteins products localized to markts

Taking a hyper-localized approach 

Flavors: By analyzing ecommerce data on viewed products, cart additions and purchases, Myprotein discovered the overwhelming popularity of local flavors like matcha latte, Hokkaido milk and brown sugar milk tea. This deep understanding of Japanese preferences allowed them to develop region-specific offerings, like the top-selling Milk Tea flavor, driving significant sales and market share gains. 

Distribution: Capitalizing on digital commerce’s global reach, Myprotein utilized THG Ingenuity’s global fulfilment and courier networks to establish a Singapore warehouse and partner with local couriers, optimizing the supply chain and logistics.

This enabled fast and affordable deliveries across Japan, reducing customer churn, increasing customer lifetime value and positively impacting profitability by streamlining costs and maximizing efficiency.

Payments: Integrating payment methods familiar to local consumers like Konbini (convenience store payments) and PayPay eliminated friction and boosted conversions, improving customer experience and brand health.

Events: Myprotein hosted its first retail event in Tokyo in the summer of 2022 to increase brand awareness and promote the company’s official mobile app.

Partnerships: The UK-based company collaborated with ITOCHU for licensing to expand retail presence, foster stronger relationships with retailers and drive top-line revenue growth.

Currently, there are four protein powder SKUs and one ready-to-drink available across Japan.

Laptop screen showing Japan Myprotein site

Data-driven insights

DTC focus: Building closer relationships with Japanese consumers through direct-to-consumer (DTC) allowed for secure and profitable customer service, while gathering valuable insights to optimize operations. 

NPD team dedicated to Asia: Myprotein turned their e-commerce platform into a powerful tool, transforming every click and purchase into actionable insights about their customers.

Scaling first-party data empowered the brand to adapt their product offerings in real-time, ensuring that the products remained relevant and contributing to increased brand awareness and market share.

Flash sales: Leveraging local holidays like Golden Week and Single’s Day increased brand awareness and relevancy, leading to increased market share. 

Rakuten marketplace: Establishing a strong presence on a popular platform reached a wider audience and increased sales, while maintaining a good relationship with a major retailer. 

Phone showing Japanese Myprotein ad

Unlocking the power of Shun

Shun, the peak season for local ingredients, drives a powerful food trend in Asia. Consumers value health, fresh flavors, and exclusivity, making Shun perfect for Myprotein Japan. Global brands like KitKat capitalize on it with limited-edition seasonal products.

Why it matters for Myprotein:

  • Resonates with Asian values: Aligns with health, seasonality and premium positioning. Drives sales growth and market share by aligning with local preferences for health, seasonality and premium products.
  • Limited-edition excitement: Creates buzz and brand awareness and boosts sales during campaigns.
  • NPD as PR hook: Generates media attention and attracts new customers, improving brand perception and potentially leading to new partnerships and sales channels.

The opportunity: Embracing Shun with limited-edition flavors elevates Myprotein's brand image, drives sales and attracts loyal customers in the dynamic Asian market.

The results

  • Exponential growth: Revenue soared from £1 million in 2016 to £75 million in 2019 and £125 million in 2020, showcasing the power of tailoring products and marketing to local preferences.
  • Market leadership: Myprotein became the #1 foreign sports nutrition brand in 2022, capturing 11% of Myprotein Asia's total revenue with local products.
  • Customer engagement: 75,000 customers on Rakuten and over 7,000 event visitors demonstrate brand traction and strong emotional connections with Japanese consumers. 

“To truly succeed in Japan, you need to go beyond surface understanding. Dive into local trends, preferred communication channels like SNS, unique payment methods and their high expectations for customer service. Be a chameleon, blending seamlessly into the market – think and act like a local!” 

– Atsuko Varlet General Manager, Myprotein Japan

Challenges and opportunities

Despite their remarkable success in the Japanese market, Myprotein recognizes the need to constantly evolve and adapt to stay ahead in the dynamic Japanese market. Here, we explore the key challenges they face and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.

Maintaining innovation: Continuously introduce new localized flavors and products to stay ahead of the curve and retain the excitement of Japanese consumers. 

Local competition: Address rising competition from domestic brands by further strengthening customer loyalty and brand affinity through community engagement and product differentiation. 

Offline expansion: Leverage the success of retail collaborations to explore further brick-and-mortar presence, potentially in partnership with local fitness centers or health stores, building a stronger physical connection with their Japanese audience.

This expansion strategy aims to increase brand accessibility, foster deeper customer relationships, and ultimately drive even more sales, further solidifying Myprotein's position as a market leader in Japan.

Bottom line

By providing a flexible and scalable ecommerce platform, THG Ingenuity empowered Myprotein to quickly adapt product offerings, manage local marketing campaigns, and streamline fulfilment processes, effectively navigating the complexities of entering the Japanese market.

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