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A Better Pill to Swallow.

Byline: K. Canning

Consumers are looking for convenient options, alternative delivery formats and other enhancements when it comes to own-brand OTC products.

The United States is the largest global market for over-the-counter (OTC) medications, with sales predicted to reach $33 billion by 2016, according to the July "Category Insight: Pain Relief, Decongestive, Cough, Cold, Flu & Allergy Relief" report from global market research firm Mintel. Moreover, private label new product development accounts for 37 percent of North American OTC product launches, versus 16 percent globally.

Consumer healthcare products in the United States registered healthy growth in 2013, according to "Consumer Health in the US," a May report from London-based Euromonitor International. Helping to drive sales of OTC cough and cold remedies here were a severe flu season and high pollen levels. And sports nutrition, weight management and pediatric OTC products also saw strong growth.

Moreover, private label continued to benefit from recalls of name brand products, Euromonitor noted, especially in the hard-hit analgesic and digestive remedy subcategories.

Trends with traction

For their own brands, retailers should look to current trends with staying power -- such as personalization and convenience -- in the OTC healthcare category.

"As consumers lead increasingly busier lifestyles, new product launches attempt to offer personalization and convenience in order to appeal to a wider target audience, as well as to specifically address unique lifestyle needs," Euromonitor states.

In addition to convenience and personalization, Euromonitor points to a trend toward preventive health.

"Rather than merely offering consumer health treatments, retailers are positioning themselves as purveyors of overall health and wellness," Euromonitor says.

Trends on the horizon

On the OTC analgesic side, alternative delivery formats are an emerging trend. Mintel notes that the U.S. market has room for more "standout" gummy/soft chews and dissolvable strip formats for analgesics, as over half of consumers show interest in trying these formats. The same trend is playing out in the digestive and detoxifying treatment segment.

"While traditional and basic tablet and capsule formats remain the bedrock of innovation in the North American digestives and detoxifying treatments segment, brands have in the past year increasingly embraced chewable products," Mintel states in its July "Category Insight: Digestives and Detoxifying Treatments" report. "Private label's influence on the North American digestive and detoxifying treatments category has increased in recent years as consumers have little brand loyalty."

And retailers also should look to sports nutrition and dietary supplements as growth drivers going forward. Euromonitor says these supplement segments will drive category growth over the next few years.

"Sports nutrition will continue to attract more mainstream consumers with continued product innovation," the market research firm notes. "The category can expect new product launches targeting specific demographics, especially women with targeted formulations that address the unique nutrition concerns of the female population."

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Author:Canning, K.
Publication:Progressive Grocer's Store Brands
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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