Natural goes mainstream

While the term homeopathy may remain as foreign to the American consumer as allopathy, as a relative “class” within each of the respective categories where homeopathic remedies exist, more and more shoppers are placing those homeopathic products in their baskets.

According to a survey conducted by the market research firm Kline, the usage and perception of what Kline couches as “natural OTCs” — which includes digestive solutions like probiotics — revealed that more than 45% of consumers consider natural OTCs effective, and more than 40% believe that natural OTCs may be safer or have fewer side effects than
traditional OTCs.

Kline expects that sales of OTC “natural” products will eclipse $750 million by 2016.

One of the faster-growing categories — not only across homeopathy, but also in general — is sleep, noted Les Hamilton, VP sales for Hyland’s. The sleep category used to include only diphenhydramine formulations and the occasional melatonin, Hamilton said. But now that category is popping.

“This whole section has grown from half a dozen SKUs to 20-plus that really are meaningful within the category,” he said. Hyland’s currently fields the No. 10 sleep brand overall and leading homeopathic remedy in that space, Calms Forte.

However, across many retailers, sleep solutions are merchandised synergistically alongside analgesics across the bottom of the shelf. Bringing the category closer to eye level could drive additional sales.

“[One retailer] has pulled it off of the base and merchandised [sleep] together with allopathic and homeopathic medicines on one shelf,” Hamilton said, noting that there’s been a lift. “As retailers are trying to drive the consumer to this very profitable category, they really need to look and focus on merchandising it in a place where it’s going to catch the eye of the consumer.”

Business opportunities vary across product categories, noted Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline’s Healthcare practice. “For instance, while cough and cold preparations are expected to grow at a rate of only 5% to reach $320.9 billion in 2016, it is anticipated that sleeping aids will grow by about 18% per year to reach $54 million in 2016 from $23.5 million reported in 2011,” she said. “Growth in natural OTCs will be dependent on whether consumers continue to find them effective and safe.”

Looking forward, external analgesics containing arnica may become another growth driver Hamilton suggested. “You’re going to see the leg cramps and the arnica really come full force in the next 12 months,” he said. Menthol rubs are common across the category, he added, and the homeopathic external analgesic solutions could supply some “newness” to the category. “Arnica is a newer ingredient to the food, drug [and] mass arena that really does work,” he said. “Not only does it reduce the swelling and pain, [but] arnica also reduces bruising.”

Other categories experiencing growth by way of homeopathy include baby and kids cough-cold. Within cough-cold, a lot of the success of homeopathic solutions can be traced to the Food and Drug Administration meetings questioning the safety and efficacy of monographed allopathic medicines being administered to children in 2007. Following that, kids’ cough-cold sets were made up of single-ingredient allopathic medicines indicated for children over the age of 4 years and homeopathic medicines indicated for children over the age of 2 years. 

  

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Homeopathy Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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