Fish oil is an established category on Amazon with a lot of opportunity for existing supplement brands. In terms of monthly sales, it's above average size for the supplement world-since February monthly sales of fish oil on Amazon were approximately $5.6 million, and since the start of the pandemic, that number has grown to be around $6.6 million (as of July).
It's important to note that the word "category" can be tricky on Amazon. It doesn't neatly match the same definitions used in brick and mortar. When we're talking about fish oil supplements on Amazon, what we're really talking about are products that have been categorized by Amazon as fish oil, which can vary depending on Amazon systems and sellers.
About 25 brands control 80% of the Amazon fish oil category, making it competitive and difficult for new brands to break through. However, unlike many other categories, there isn't a clearly defined top player, which means there's an opportunity for one of the existing top brands to establish leadership.
Fish oil category overview
According to Google Trends data, online interest in fish oil has remained steady and predictable over the last five years.
Like other health and wellness related products, consumer interest in fish oil peaks in January-when most consumers are mulling over health-related New Year's resolutions. That interest then steadily declines throughout the rest of the year.
The top searches surrounding the term "fish oil" are: "benefits of fish oil," "omega fish oil," "omega 3 fish oil" and "best fish oil."
Fish oil and Amazon
Fish oil products have a weighted average selling price of $23.08. Products can be priced above or below that price depending on the pack size, quality and brand. In higher-priced, single-count offerings, perceived quality of the dietary supplement is the main differentiator. Purity, EPA/DHA quantity, omega-3 fatty acid concentration and potency are some of the callouts listed on higher-priced items.
Consumers prefer a soft gel delivery method. Soft gel capsules make up 59% of the fish oil category, and other delivery formats may have a harder time gaining traction on the marketplace.
Consumers care very much about the taste and aftertaste (think fishy burp) of fish oil products. Taste and aftertaste matter so much that, in most cases, those two factors outweigh any perceived benefits of actually taking the product.
Fish oil is also a popular pet product. According to Amazon search data, "fish oil for dogs" is one of the most popular search terms in this product category.
3 ways existing brands can win more market share
"Fish oil is a category where the right strategy could make a big impact," said Netrush Senior Director of Retail and CPG Jen Mohan. "The opportunity is there, but it's going to require dedicated effort from a brand to shake things up and gain that lead."
Talk about taste. Taste really can't be stressed enough. Consumers want a fish oil product without fishy smells, aftertaste or fish burps. Most brands in this category aren't taking this into consideration when creating their listings. Out of all the fish oil listings on Amazon, only a dozen or so mention anything about taste in the listing title.
Highlight perceived health benefits. Like any other vitamin or supplement, consumers expect beneficial results from taking fish oil supplement. Images, feature points, and product descriptions all present brands with an opportunity to mention health benefits, but it needs to be done carefully. Talking about the benefits of supplements can be tricky on Amazon. Brands need to ensure they're staying within Amazon's guidelines and DSHEA guidelines to avoid any listing penalties.
Provide value and quality. Consumers want to get quality fish oil at the best price. Competitively pricing products is a must for this category. While the average price for fish oil is about $30, prices in this category range from $8 to $300-plus-depending on the pack size, brand and quality. Brands will need to look closely at offerings similar to their own to determine the best possible price.
Looking ahead-the future of fish oil?
Brands may have a difficult time breaking into Amazon's fish oil category, but there is a trend on the horizon that could offer possibilities for newcomers. To sidestep fishy tastes altogether, a growing number of consumers are turning to algae supplements, which advertise similar health benefits to fish oil. This plant-based option is also great for brands looking to reach vegan and vegetarian consumers.
Austin Wright is a content strategist at Netrush, a leading e-commerce solutions provider for premium natural products brands.
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