Aromatherapy growth is ‘breath of fresh air’ for health-and-wellness sales

It's a category that two years ago represented a fresh opportunity only for enterprising specialty operators, and yet today aromatherapy has successfully made the transition from those niche health food markets to mass outlets, where it is fast becoming an integral piece to the overall health-and-wellness offering.

The category realized healthy growth in 2016. Piping Rock reported that the aromatherapy opportunity in mass is presently racing along at a growth clip of 121%, last year reaching $44 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 31 across all outlets combined, according to Nielsen.

“This segment is growing 15 times faster than the next [fastest-] growing [natural] segment,” Steve Holzbach, Piping Rock senior category development manager, told Drug Store News. "[And] it's bringing new users into the category."

According to Holzbach, the Nature’s Truth brand has quickly become the market-share leading aromatherapy brand in mass, with more than 30,000 doors in the general market. Nature's Truth's aromatherapy line already includes more than 40 products, from essential oils to diffusers, base oils, sprays and creams.

Important, the blockbuster growth being generated by aromatherapy has been incremental to the category, Holzbach added.

The majority of shoppers — as many as 80% — are female, Holzbach said, and the category also indexes high among Hispanic (104) and African American (110) shoppers, according to Piping Rock research.

Piping Rock continues to innovate within the category and in February extended its aromatherapy line with three new — body cream, body oil and bubble bath. “These new products offer a therapeutic approach to beauty for a holistic approach to aromatherapy," said Kimberly Vigliante, Piping Rock SVP sales and marketing. The products are also creating a new — and rare — gifting opportunity in health and wellness.

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