The COVID-19 pandemic has consumers scrambling to do more than kill germs on hands and surfaces. Amid the chaotic situation of out-of-stock shelves for cleaning products, hand soaps, and paper products, consumers are seeking ways to bolster their immune systems by eating more whole foods, increasing rest, and exercising. As a result, the nutritional supplements category is witnessing a strong surge in demand as customers turn toward multivitamins, single-letter vitamins, and specialty supplements. For one, Vitamin C products have seen a strong uptick in sales, as have other specialty supplements such as elderberry, zinc, and echinacea.
Early research reveals that vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, pre- and probiotics, and elderberry are experiencing rapid sales gains during Q1 and Q2 of 2020. However, with prolonged shelter–in–place orders, economic shutdown, and millions of Americans unemployed, another recession is likely to impact the market after the outbreak is over. Therefore, rapid sales gains may be short-lived, and the industry may experience flatness if recession becomes a reality. During the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, the U.S. nutritional supplements market experienced modest declines, followed by a couple of years of flat sales. Some consumers deemed these products non-essential and suspended use. Others continued to use them but sought value and private-label brands to spend less on them.
As noted in Kline’s Impact of Recessions on the U.S. OTC Market study, which was published in 2009, older consumers continue to supplement their diets with vitamins, minerals, and supplements aimed at age-related conditions such as eye health, bone health, heart health, or immune support during recessionary periods. As a result, those products continue to maintain their sales for the most part. However, younger consumers who are healthier overall may suspend nutritional supplement purchases during a recession. Others who still want to use supplements may switch from their favorite brands to store brands and private-label vitamins to save money.
Kline’s new study, Nutritional Supplements Market in the United States, to be published this summer, includes a full analysis of vitamins, herbals, and specialty supplements, including expected impacts of COVID-19 and another recession on these categories. For more information, contact us.