By Poovenraj Kanagaraj,
As companies recalibrate and re-strategise from the impact left behind by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, Indonesia’s You has registered a different form of traction in sales, observing unprecedented increase in sales in both March and April as Indonesians shift their focus to supplements to stay healthy in an ongoing fight against the virus.
“We started in April 2017, and we were focused on keeping millennials healthy through supplements in the form of vitamin gummies,” says chief executive officer, Wouter van der Kolk. The startup which sells the supplements under the Youvit brand has seen a surge in sales as a result of the virus outbreak.
“Almost overnight, it seems like we are witnessing a paradigm shift. Indonesians taking proactive, positive steps to protect themselves and their families, such as incorporating Youvit gummy vitamins into their daily routine,” he highlighted.
“The mindsets in Indonesia are curative and when the virus surged in the country, people started to shift the mindset to preventative measures and had begun to look for products to boost their immune system,” Wouter added.
In order to maintain the accessibility to the vitamin during lockdown, the startup even launched an innovative online shopping platform on its website to ensure customers stuck at home have easy access to supplements. Purchase can also be done via the messaging platform, Whatsapp.
According to the startup, its online presence serves as a complement to a robust distribution network across more than 17,000 modern retail outlets in the country. It aims to expand to at least 30,000 by the end of the year.
While the market is filled with supplements for various ailments, Youvit’s decision to promote their product in the form of gummies stems from the need to address the mindset of Indonesians and its plans to incorporate vitamins into their daily lifestyles. “We want to shift the focus on vitamins from a medicinal perspective and onto a more lifestyle habit,” says Wouter.
The startup’s reasoning to choose the gummy format also comes from a much-needed desire to fill the innovative side of the industry. Wouter believes that the segment was in need of an innovation and with competitors having been around for decades, creativity has not been present.
The gummy format which found itself appealing to the age group of between 25 and 30 had also required the startup to do a bit of educating. While millennials in the country were open to trying something new, for instance, Wouter noted that they would see the gummy-form supplement at the checkout counter and impulsively buy it, education was needed to appeal other groups of people who had doubts over the offerings the product has.
“Our vitamins are much more complete and better balanced,” Wouter noted. The gummy vitamins according to the startup, come packed with nutrients and minerals to boost immune function , brain development, energy, beauty and overall health, while at the same time offering a pleasant taste.
As it paves a path for itself in the industry in Indonesia, Wouter has also announced plans to enter the Malaysian market by 2021. “The country is of course relatively close by and culturally more similar. It’s a majority Muslim country and our products are certified halal,” Wouter says.
He also shares that as they have focused on the middle upper class in Indonesia, he believes that with a bigger and more developed similar segment in Malaysia, the startup is hoping to replicate the success they have had in Indonesia.
“We do see some challenges but it won’t be as drastically different and we still see space for innovation and fresh brands for the millennial market in Malaysia,” Wouter tells Business Today.
While plans to penetrate the Malaysian market is in the pipelines, Wouter does not dismiss future decisions to expand into the rest of Southeast Asia. While it may not necessarily be Singapore after Malaysia, the startup is eyeing countries such as Philippines and Thailand as potential new markets to venture into.
“Definitely our main focus currently is doubling down on Indonesia, there is so much to do and we want to take a lot more market share,” Wouter says, hinting on plans currently in the pipeline as well new partnerships to co-brand with in the coming future.