Kinesio tape helps revive staid category

This year marks the 125th anniversary of commercial first-aid kits. In 1888, Johnson & Johnson pioneered the first kits, which were originally designed to help railroad workers care for the wounds and injuries they received from laying railroad track.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Today first-aid kits represent $47.5 million in sales across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. And it's certainly a mature business, registering 1% in annual growth.

But there is growth potential.

According to a recent survey with Wakefield Research, as many as 42% of Americans have been unable to care for an injury because they did not have the first-aid supplies on hand. Nearly half (46%) of respondents incorrectly believed that an uncovered wound heals faster than a covered wound, and nearly one-third (31%) of adults do not own a first-aid kit.

The business of bandages is a similarly staid category, albeit much larger. Sales for the 52 weeks ended July 14 totaled $760 million across total U.S. multi-outlets, down slightly by 0.7%. However, Derma Sciences is looking to generate some excitement in the bandage aisle with the launch of the first honey-based over-the-counter product earlier this year. The dressing is expected to be on the shelves in more than 4,000 stores by the end of this month and is expected to add approximately $1.2 million to Derma Sciences' traditional wound care sales in the second half of 2013.

But the buzz within first aid is around kinesio tape. Kinesio tape is an elastic therapeutic tape used for treating sports injuries and a variety of other disorders that was made popular by Olympic athletes in 2012. However, the concept dates back to the 1970s. It is claimed that KT supports injured muscles and joints, and helps relieve pain by lifting the skin and allowing improved blood flow.

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