As presented in TABS Analytics’ 9th Annual Vitamin & Mineral Supplements Study Webinar in May, the online retail channel is the top outlet for sales of vitamin and mineral supplements (VMS), reaching $2 billion and surpassing Walmart’s vitamin sales of $1.7 billion in 2016.
Vitamin Specialty, which includes Vitamin Shoppe and GNC, ($1.5 billion); Costco ($1.3 billion); and CVS ($1.2 billion) round out the next three largest outlets for annual VMS sales. TABS found that VMS sales were up 3% compared to 2015 and were being driven mainly by price increases. TABS Analytics estimates the annual U.S. VMS retail market to be $12.8 billion.
Amazon continued to lead all online domains with a 35% share of purchase occasions. Pure play domains—onlne retailers without brick-and-mortar stores—dominate online sales with a 78% share compared to brick-and-mortar online sales share of 22%.
According to Kurt Jetta, Ph.D., president and founder of TABS Analytics, “Given their relatively high share in eCommerce, Vitamin sales, like baby product sales, are a frontline category for gauging eCommerce success for brick and mortar retailers, particularly for Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. Unlike online sales for baby products, brick and mortar retailers are not succeeding as well in online vitamin sales. Brick and mortar online vitamin sales account for only 22 percent of online transactions compared to 40 plus percent in online baby product sales.”
Like a lot of aging Americans, consumer products and drug companies are hoping vitamins will give them an energy boost.
Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, Arm & Hammer owner Church & Dwight, and others have all acquired makers of dietary supplements within the last few years. Deals are expected to continue as aging baby boomers and rising health-care costs will boost demand for products that offer quick-fixes toward better health.
Supplements are appealing because they can tap into the desire for health solutions and charge high prices, without the hassle of tough U.S. regulatory oversight.
Potential buyers are looking for vitamin and supplement brands that are well established or still independently owned.
Adding vitamins and supplements can give companies more leverage when negotiating with retail pharmacies that have consolidated, as well as opportunities to make more efficient use of distribution and supply chains.
Contrary to popular perception, interest in products for healthy aging isn’t
While they do trail Boomers in overall supplement use, Millennials are catching up fast: In fact, according to Mintel research, an amazing 73% of adults aged 25-34 regularly take vitamin or mineral supplements, compared to about 88% of adults aged 65+.
This healthy living mindset and proactive approach to health and wellness offers rich opportunities for brands in the vitamin and supplement industry. Women’s Marketing identified three key areas of opportunity for brands to tap into millennial buying power and attract this health conscious consumer.
Millennials use supplements to stay healthy.
Among Millennials, 55% believe that vitamin supplements will help them effectively manage their health issues, making this demographic an excellent target for marketers in the vitamin and supplement industry.
Women prefer natural options.
Women have a strong inclination to seek out natural anti-aging and health-care options and vitamin and nutritional supplements. Vitamin and supplement industry trends show that products geared toward women, such as those that claim to promote “beauty from within,” relieve menopause symptoms, strengthen bones, or are formulated for pregnancy/prenatal supplementation are selling well. Multi-benefit products are especially appealing in the health and wellness market, as we see with the success of bone-building calcium and B vitamins, which have energy and mood-boosting claims.
Moms use vitamins to supplement kids’ diets.
44% of Americans aged 25-34 have children younger than 18 living in their households. Mintel reports that 67% of parents give their children younger than 12 vitamins to ensure they are receiving the recommended daily allowance of essential vitamins and nutrients. Health and wellness industry products that offer value pricing and easy-to-take formats (Gummies, liquid, chewable), as well as those that integrate their brands into a platform of healthy living will appeal to moms.
Despite popular belief, seafood is great for mom’s health during pregnancy and vital for her growing baby’s brain. When mom eats the recommended 2-3 servings of seafood a week, her baby gains 2.6 IQ points.
This is vital to a baby’s spinal cord and nerves. You can get folate in its naturally occurring form from oranges, asparagus, lentils, spinach, papaya, fortified cereal, and bread. Doctors typically prescribe a daily multivitamin with 600-800 mcg of folic acid.
This nutrient is key to baby brain development and prevention of birth defects. It may also help a child’s memory and ability to learn in the future and prevent mental illness. The best sources are eggs with the yolk, wheat germ, beef and pork.
With blood volume increasing 50% during pregnancy, iron requirements jump from 18mg/day to 27mg/day. Iron-deficiency anemia is very common in pregnancy, leading to lethargy and preterm birth. In addition to animal protein, you can get iron from beans, legumes, dark leafy greens, dried apricots, and fortified oatmeal.
Most women don’t get enough. The requirement is no different here—1000 mg—but it is vital that expecting mothers get that amount. It is required for the mother’s bones and teeth and the baby’s bone structure. Dairy is a great source, as are spinach, fortified cereal, leafy greens, broccoli, and black beans.
A study published in the Journal of the American
Researchers included 163 patients in the Vitamin Treating Patients with Chronic Heart failure study. All had a vitamin D deficiency and were treated for heart failure with a pacemaker or blood pressure drugs. Some of the participants were asked to take a vitamin D-3 supplement daily, while the rest were given a placebo pill. The participants’ hearts pumped out more blood with each heartbeat, suggesting a significant improvement. The participants’ blood flow improved from 26% at the start of the study to 34% at the end.
“These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients,” a consultant cardiologist told Medical News Today. The authors suggest that vitamin D-3 therapy could be a safe, effective, and inexpensive option for heart failure patients.
The rapid and continued growth of Amazon and its “endless aisle,” economically viable price-to-weight ratios in OTC medicines, and the power of on-site retail search, means that more shoppers are researching and buying OTC medicines online.
Vitamins and supplements are a large and growing industry — and eCommerce is playing a meaningful role. The regimented nature of vitamins makes subscription programs like Subscribe & Save a natural fit, helping shoppers stay compliant and brands lock in their loyalty.
With Amazon continuing to dominate as the world’s largest e-retailer, do you know how your products are performing on Amazon in the vitamins category? See how your brand stacks up in the Amazon Fastmovers Report.
Vitamin D and skin cancer
The vitamin at issue here is vitamin D. It is needed by the human body for health, but there are very few natural foods which contain it and most people agree that at least moderate exposure to sunlight is the best way to make sure that levels of this vitamin are adequate. Research has found that having adequate levels of vitamin D in the body not only reduces the risk of melanoma - the most serious form of skin cancer - but of other forms of cancer as well.
Vitamin B3 and skin cancer
Recent research has found that vitamin B3 can also help to reduce the risk of skin cancer. In this latest study, 386 patients with a history of either basal or squamous cell carcinoma (common but less serious forms of skin cancer) were given 1000mg of vitamin B3 or a placebo daily. At the end of the study, those who had taken the B3 were found to have a 23% reduced risk of re-developing cancer. The chances of developing pre-cancerous lesions were also reduced by 20%.
“We’ve tested the product with select retailers, and we are excited to launch the product nationwide,” said Melissa Skabich, communications director for Living Essentials.
Each shot has 21 grams of protein and is available in four flavors – berry, peach mango, grape extra strength and berry extra strength. Each six-ounce bottle contains 100 calories and less than one gram of sugar.
The suggested retail price for regular strength is $3.99; extra strength varieties are $4.29.