The global plant-based movement has gained huge momentum over recent years. A range of new products and brands, such as Oatly, has hit the market. Meanwhile, events such as Veganuary are achieving mainstream success.
The movement’s popularity also shows no signs of slowing. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that the global plant-based alternatives market could swell to $166 billion in the next decade.
One of the new wave of plant-based pioneers, Oatly, has been at the forefront of this movement. Construction has now begun on its first UK plant-based dairy factory in Peterborough. It will be the brand’s sixth globally, according to The Grocer. And it will generate 300 million litres of oats drink a year when it opens in the first quarter of 2023.
This industry has also attracted a fair amount of media attention, controversy and litigation. Oatly itself was involved in a legal battle with Cambridgeshire-based oat drinks brand Glebe Farm last year over claims of trademark infringement.
Given the dramatic category changes, we decided to take a closer look at Oatly and its competitors. Below we see how Oatly’s market share is tracking in different countries using Share of Search over the last 12 months. Here’s what we found…
Oatly loses ground in the UK
There has been a decrease in brand searches for Oatly in the UK over the last year. This has led to a fall in Share of Search from 55.14% a year ago, to 52.26% in April 2022.
Whilst Oatly saw a search demand peak during September 2021, the news story that sparked interest was negative in sentiment. Media coverage focused on Oatly allegedly selling a stake to a company with links contributing to deforestation in the Amazon. This was the reason for a spike in Share of Search.
Although the links have been denied by Oatly, this news story resulted in calls for people to boycott Oatly products. Despite Oatly generating record revenue figures in 2021, the impact this has had on search demand is clear. Search volumes decreased by 17.4% when comparing year-on-year search volumes from April 2021 (14,800) to April 2022 (12,220).
Meanwhile, Alpro is one of the UK category winners, consistently growing its Share of Search over the last 12 months.
A mixed picture in the US & Germany
In comparison to its US industry competitors, Oatly saw a high Share of Search with 95.46% in April 2022.
It’s clear that two peaks in search volume in 2021 influence Oatly’s Share of Search score. With the Google News feature of SearchShare, we can see the stories that influence these peaks in search demand.
Firstly, in February 2021, Oatly appeared for the first time in the American Football Super Bowl. The advert raised some negativity, with reference to the advert being aired after it was banned in Sweden in 2014.
Secondly, we can see a peak in search demand for Oatly in May 2021. This is when news broke that Oatly made their US Stock Market debut. It sent shares soaring by 18%, according to CNBC.
Despite these spikes in search volume, overall Oatly’s Share of Search has dropped year-on-year in the US.
Conversely, whereas Oatley saw a decrease in Share of Search for the UK and US, the German market saw an increase in Share of Search year-on-year from May 2021 (62.85%) to April 2022 (63.27%).
These results demonstrate the variance of Share of Search for Oatly across key markets. It also shows how SearchShare is able to track these variances with the ability to delve deeper into the potential factors that influence changes in Share of Search.
By understanding changes in Share of Search you can predict correlating changes in market share and make informed and strategic decisions.
If you are looking to track your brand or a client’s Share of Search to understand market share and gain a competitive advantage, then please get in touch.