Driven by consumer interest in all things natural, the market for natural OTCs increases by a strong 11.4%, compared with the overall OTC market that grew 4.2% in 2015. Natural nutritional products, including supplements for heart and brain health, grow at the fastest pace of over 30% in 2015. The natural cough/cold/immunity market, the largest category, accounting for approximately 40% of the total natural OTC market, is also growing at high single digits.
“Consumers are using these products both for prevention and immune boosting properties as well as to help aid healing when they are sick,” states Laura Mahecha, Healthcare Industry Manager for Kline Market Research. “The message of strengthening the body’s natural defenses against upper respiratory issues such as cold, cough, and allergies that have been widely advertised by brands such as Emergen-C, Zarbee’s Naturals, and Zicam resonates with consumers.”
The immune-boosting claims made by probiotic brands such as Culturelle, Align, and Schiff Digestive Advantage also resonate with consumers, and this category’s sales increase by double digits. These products offer improved immunity via the digestive tract and are taken regularly in order to be effective. “Probiotic brands are sold at relatively high retail price points and most consumers take them daily, which deliver strong sales gains for retailers and the manufacturers of these brands,” says Mahecha.
More than half of the consumers surveyed by Kline indicate that they use natural OTCs more now than one year ago and nearly two-thirds of consumers say they use them now more than five years ago, which indicates a growing interest in natural OTCs. There is also a growing range of retail outlets where natural OTCs are sold including traditional drug, food, and mass merchandiser channels in addition to alternative classes of trade, such as natural/specialty stores, including Whole Foods and Sprout’s, nutrition and supplement stores, such as GNC and Vitamin Shoppe, and the online channel.
“Natural OTCs will continue to be important to consumers and therefore are expected to grow at strong rates in the future. They will also continue offer competition to traditional OTC brands over the next few years,” concludes Mahecha.
The market for natural OTCs consists of a number of diffuse suppliers. Some suppliers are small start-up organizations, such as The Honest Company and Zarbee’s Naturals. Others are small to medium-sized companies focused on homeopathy, such as Hyland’s, Boiron, and Similasan. Natural companies that have been acquired by large multinational companies of traditional OTCs gained the support and resources of their new parent companies. Premium natural products, with strong margins and growth that often outpaces the traditional OTC market, are an attractive target for manufacturers of traditional OTC products, which continue to acquire smaller natural OTC companies as a way to enter new categories and channels of distribution.
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Natural OTCs: Impact of Non-drug Products on the U.S. OTC Market is a comprehensive market assessment of non-drug products competing with traditional OTCs, including an analysis of the market’s size, consumers’ perceptions, and company profiles. This report focuses on major products, companies, and consumer attitudes towards such products.