The market for natural OTC products continues to see double-digit year-over-year sales growth, while the traditional OTC market struggles with only 2%-3% growth each year. Kline defines natural OTCs as drug-free, non-monograph products that may contain natural, plant, or herb-based ingredients. Natural OTCs can be homeopathic products and often make claims of support, prevention, maintenance and/or treatment of minor ailments. What seems to work for natural OTCs is honesty and transparency of ingredients. Millennials are driving demand for natural OTC products that have natural ingredients and help treat minor ailments without harmful ingredients or unwanted side effects. Millennials are also becoming parents and are also demanding natural products for their children.
Kline will be publishing the 3rd edition of its Natural OTCs: Impact of Non-Drug Products on the U.S. OTC Market study later this month. One of the fastest-growing companies that emerged from the research is Irwin Naturals, based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1994, Irwin Naturals is a producer of soft gel-based herbal formulas sold in more than 90,000 retail outlets and online. The company markets a series of targeted herbal formulas in different lines for men, women, weight management, performance, and joint, heart, brain, and mood and energy support.
At the end of July 2018, Johnson & Johnson announced it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Zarbee’s Naturals for an undisclosed sum. Zarbee’s is a privately-held company that was started by pediatrician Dr. Zak Zarbock in 2008 with the mission of creating naturally sourced cough, cold, and immunity products for children and adults. Zarbee’s first product was a honey-based kids’ cough syrup made with vitamin C and zinc and free of alcohol, drugs, and artificial flavors. Over the last decade, Zarbee’s Naturals has grown into a broad-based health and wellness brand. This brand and others like it have disrupted the cough and cold category, where traditional marketers are struggling to see real sales growth.
The U.S. OTC market posted 2.2% growth overall from 2015 to 2016, according to Kline’s venerable Nonprescription Drugs USA annual market assessment study. However, topical analgesics, nasal allergy medications, herbal products, and contraceptive products posted much higher rates of dollar sales growth. The calendar year of 2016 was marked as being a weak cold and flu season, which put a damper on sales of many OTC upper respiratory brands and market segments. However, in contrast, nasal allergy sprays grew by double digits, driven by growth of newer Rx-to-OTC switch brands, Flonase Allergy Relief (GlaxoSmithKline), and the addition of Rhinocort Allergy Spray by Johnson & Johnson to the market. This rapid uptake of nasal allergy sprays resulted in a small decline in sales of oral allergy medications. Continue reading
Consumers’ desire for natural products doesn’t pertain only to foods and beverages, but extends into many other areas, including personal care products and OTC medicines. Consumers are increasingly aware of ingredients and seek transparency in labeling for products that will be applied topically or ingested. Environmental concerns, green consciousness, and sustainability are important to consumers who are driving strong growth of natural products in both the personal care and natural OTC markets. The U.S. market for natural personal care products has grown over 7% recently while the U.S. market for natural OTC medicines has grown over 11%, fueled by growing consumer awareness and interest in using these products.
In a recent survey of American adult consumers conducted by Kline, 46% note they used natural OTCs both for prevention of illness and to treat themselves when they are sick. Over time, the use of natural OTCs has increased, with 50% of consumers indicating more usage now than one year ago, and nearly two-thirds noting they buy and use natural OTCs more now than they did five years ago.Continue reading