Even with cooler nights ahead, sleep aids are still a hot category

NEW YORK — The dog days of summer are behind us, which means cooler nights, better sleeping conditions and a dip in the sale of sleeping aids. Right?

Wrong.

“[Sleep] is going to continue to be a growth business, with two drivers,” said Jim Creagan, president of Randob Labs. “One is the older population. As people age, they have more difficulty sleeping. [And] then you have the proliferation of the smartphone. … People are turning to sleep remedies because they have trouble falling asleep.”

"If you are not sleeping, you are willing to try just about anything to get that sleep. The constant trial aspect is definitely something that drives the category.”

True, people aren’t getting any younger. And those who are still considered young are not putting down those smartphones or tablets anytime soon. And given the number of vendors who continue to innovate across the category and the number of new players who continue to promote the latest in sleep remedies, sleep will continue to perform well as a destination center within OTC.

Fueling this growth is a combination of both old- and new-age technology, Creagan said. Randob launched its Dormin sleep aid into mass markets this spring, breathing new life into a venerable brand that resonates with seniors. Dormin has been on pharmacy shelves since the 1950s, primarily through the independent channel. In fact, Dormin is the No. 3 best-selling sleep aid for independents, according to the Hamacher Resource Group.

“If you are not sleeping, you are willing to try just about anything to get that sleep,” Creagan said. “The constant trial aspect is definitely something that drives the category.”

One brand that is resonating with the younger consumer is Neuro Sleep, which has extensive outreach through YouTube and Instagram. Neuro Sleep combines the benefits of melatonin with 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan;, magnesium; and L-theanine, plus the superfruit extracts pomegranate, acai and blueberry. Earlier this year, the company tapped CPG veteran Scott LaPorta as president and COO to take the entire Neuro portfolio to the next level. LaPorta is a brand-building specialist, having worked with Levi’s, Hilton, Caesars and the Marriott group.

Helping to bridge that gap between younger and older consumers, Hyland’s introduced an entire portfolio of sleep-related products — Hyland’s Calm, Rest and Awaken — at the recent NACDS Total Store Expo. “In a world of Amazon where everything is a one-stop shop, … retailers [who] provide a solution and a holistic approach to what the consumer needs … will win,” Les Hamilton, president of Hyland’s, told Drug Store News.

Another reason people face sleepless nights is snoring, making snoring remedies an ideal co-merchandising opportunity for sleep aids. “Snoring is exciting for a number of reasons,” Steve Howard, chief marketing officer at Foundation Consumer, told DSN. “With 50 million to 70 million frequent snorers in the U.S. adult population, this is a significant issue. … [It’s] the third-leading cause of divorce [and] is a really prevalent issue,” he said.

At NACDS TSE, Foundation Consumer was preparing for its national launch of its snore solution Theravent, Howard said. “We have a full-blown national launch planned for this product, with significant resources devoted to broadcast media, as well as efforts targeting the critical sleep physician community.”


 

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