Strong cold and flu season drives OTC upper respiratory market up

Strong cold and flu season drives OTC upper respiratory market up

The second half of 2017 saw a significantly higher incidence of cold and flu which helped propel sales of OTC cold and sinus medications, cough syrups, cough drops, and nasal decongestants.  The OTC cold and sinus market grew 4.5% from 2016 to 2017, which is nearly three times the growth rate experienced in 2016.  Not only was the severity of the cold and flu season greater, but also the actual strains of flu experienced in 2017 mutated from the time the flu vaccines were developed and produced, making flu vaccines only about 15% effective. This caused many consumers, even those who had been vaccinated, to turn to OTC cold, cough, and sinus medications for relief.

Many leading brands experienced strong growth as ailing consumers relied on trusted brands for relief from cold and flu symptoms. Theraflu (GlaxoSmithKline), Coricidin HBP (Bayer Group), Delsym (Reckitt Benckiser), Tylenol Cold (Johnson & Johnson), NyQuil (Procter & Gamble), and Robitussin (Pfizer) all experienced annual sales growth ranging from 6.2% to 16.0%, which far exceeds annual gains of 1% to 3% typically seen for upper respiratory brands.  Major companies in this market also invested heavily in advertising and promotions in 2017 to help propel sales growth of their brands.

Kline’s comprehensive analysis of the OTC cough and cold market, along with four other major OTC product classes is now available in the venerable annual study, Nonprescription Drugs USA.  This well-regarded annual market analysis provides quantitative data including brand sales, private-label sales, 5-year historical sales, unit sales, retail sales, 5-year sales forecasts, and qualitative analysis on the “why” behind the data including market trends, new product tracking, M&A activity, regulatory developments, retail distribution by retail channel including online sales estimates, and marketing/promotional activity on hundreds of brands and companies.  For more information contact us.

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