Age, gender play significant role in VMS use

As many as 72% of consumers use vitamins and dietary supplements, according to an online survey of more than 900 AccentHealth viewers conducted in late 2012. Those most likely to report supplement use include women and all consumers over the age of 55 years. Almost 3-in-4 women surveyed supplement their diets (74%) vs. 65% of men, and 81% of consumers over 55 years reported supplementing vs. 72% of consumers between the ages of 35 years and 54 years.

"While pharmacists are reported as the primary source of information on OTCs, doctors are the 'go-to' on vitamins and dietary supplements," noted Sara Mawhinney, AccentHealth senior market research analyst. Two-in-5 survey participants reported that they were primarily given information about their supplements from their doctor, followed by 28% who received that information from a friend or relative, and 18% who researched their supplements online.

Notably, survey participants over the age of 55 years were more likely to seek multiple sources of dietary supplement information (33%) as compared with younger shoppers (25%).

There are other differences regarding how survey participants over 55 years got their supplement information. While physicians are the most commonly used resource, those ages 55 years and older are significantly more likely to use the Internet for information on vitamins as compared with younger shoppers. "Additionally, respondents ages 55-plus years are more likely than those younger to consult a doctor or pharmacist and read … magazines for vitamin information," Mawhinney said. Radio was the least-cited source for information — only 1% of consumers over 55 years identified the radio as an information source.

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