Kombucha in the UK: Marketing Insights

Most small businesses understand the importance of having an online presence. In 2018 Booch News published an initial, informal survey of kombucha brands’ presence on social media. At the time, we reviewed the stats for the number of posts and followers, or likes, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram of a small group of 140 brands. By December 2022, we reported on the social media rankings of over 2,600 brands worldwide.

As interesting as this data is, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Understanding online search volume and patterns is critical for small businesses to identify the interests of their target audience.

Searchabull is a Slovakian-based pioneer using consumer search data to identify potential growth levers within the kombucha world. They create insightful reports highlighting strategic business challenges and opportunities. Their reports inform business decisions, so actions and investments are grounded in solid consumer insight. The benefits include:

  • A closer look at consumers in your category.
  • Identifying key trends before your competitors. 
  • The creation of powerful insights using the words of the consumer. 

Sample report

Specifically, a Searchabull report answers these key questions:

  • How big is the category, and how is it structured?
  • Is there more or less search interest? How is it trending?
  • Which brands are winning / losing?
  • How is my brand positioned vs. competitors?
  • What was the impact of my marketing investment?
  • What are the opportunities for growth?

Kombucha in the UK

Here at Booch News, we’ve long been interested in the kombucha scene in the UK. It’s seen an explosion in number of brands and general awareness over the past five years. So, when we were offered a chance to review a Searchabull report for that country, we jumped at the chance.

Overall Interest

To begin with, these charts (comprising a small selection from the full 84-page report ‘UK Kombucha Search Category to September 2022’ – used with express permission) show that compared to other European countries, there’s a healthy interest in kombucha in Britain.

When the pandemic hit, searches for ‘SCOBY’ spiked as people in lockdown turned to home baking and fermentation.

Parsing the search data reveals where consumer interest lies.

In summary:

  • The UK kombucha category received 1.78M searches in the 12 months to September 2022.
  • Despite a recent decline, the category is higher than in the pre-COVID period indicating more consumers have entered the category and remained
  • Post-COVID, interest is migrating from home kombucha making to the convenience of brands
  • Search growth is driven by questions about the relative health of kombucha, indicating further education on the benefits of kombucha is still required
  • The category is now maturing into brands and flavors, with early trends for kombucha alcohol and sparkling kombucha appearing

Brand size and share

Much like the leader boards we’ve published ranking brands by the number of Instagram Followers, search volume by brand shows how the market leaders stack up. Results by retailer are a useful cross-reference.

Brand Leaders

A deeper dive into the UK’s leading brands (as revealed by search volume) is covered in 60+ pages of the report. These samples illustrates the branded search share rankings.

Tracking the search performance of brands allows us to see peaks in consumer interest, plus the impact of any marketing activity.

The data also revealed an evident decline in searches for all brands over the past year.

Finally, a look at keyword searches for three brands shows the phrases people associate with each. This highlights what consumers are looking for in each brands from flavors, new launches, to where they can buy their products.

A dashboard for each brand pulls it all together. Example:

Brand Summary

Seachabull draws these conclusions from their extensive review of UK brand searches:

  • Remedy is the search leader with 26%. It is strong in terms of flavors particularly growth flavors raspberry and ginger.
  • Nexba’s growth and visibility is in part driven by strong distribution, particularly in key retailers Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
  • Equinox relies heavily on pure brand searches with 84% of total volume. Despite falling from 12% to 10% search share, it remains a strong positioned brand amongst health shops, cafes and pubs.
  • Gutsy Captain has declined in the last 2 years with search share falling from 15% to 8%. The brand has been directly impacted by the growth of Nexba.
  • Real has lower search volumes in 2022 with fewer people searching for the pure brand. While it has the least associations with other terms such as flavors and health, it is attempting to uniquely position itself in the no alcohol wine category.
  • Lo Bros’ search share is flat, but somewhat helped by strong retail distribution in key supermarkets.

In conclusion

We’ve only shared a small number of the details in the UK report. Searchabull plans to develop similar reports for other regions. They are available for reasonably priced custom search reports for any brand, anywhere. You can find out more about them by visiting their website.

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