Aside from a few growth pockets, U.S. sales growth has been elusive across the store. But Americans remain focused on their health care needs. In fact, health care sales were up $1 billion from 2016; notably, the fourth quarter alone generated $300 million in growth year-over-year.
While it may seem like winter is the time to prepare for cold and flu season, it’s clear that cough and cold prevention products are driving sales year-round. Over the 2017 calendar year, cough and cold syrups, drops and lozenges and other remedies were among the top-performing health care items compared with 2016. In analyzing the fastest-growing and sharpest-declining categories, it’s clear that in the business of health and wellness, there is a plethora of ways to treat a singular affliction, but not all products are performing similarly.
From the perspective of supplements, we see preventative health items/products/categories winning compared with those that seek to directly affect or enhance one’s health. For example, supplements in a general sense are performing very well, growing by 5.5% in dollars this past year. Conversely, sales of supplements used for weight control and for sports declined by 12.3% and 6.5%, respectively.
Traditional supplements and over-the-counter remedies aren’t the only categories seeing growth. With increased accessibility to product information, consumers are armed with even greater abilities to manage their health regimes with utmost level of detail and care. As a result, knowledge of natural ingredients with medicinal properties has never been higher, and demand for holistic health practices has followed.
The vitamins and supplements category is a perfect example. While the category as a whole has performed incredibly well at +5% sales growth, growth has been multiples higher in many cases. Vitamins and supplements that contain ginger, turmeric or ginkgo as ingredients, for example, have seen double-digit dollar growth of 13%, 17% and 24%, respectively, compared with sales in 2016.
For additional insight, download our latest Total Consumer Report.