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.