Consumers’ dreams come true with new sleep solution sets
No longer a dormant category, sales of sleep aids continue to climb at a rate of 3.9% for the 52 weeks ended June 11 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. While that entire category was lifted with the introduction of Procter & Gamble’s ZzzQuil line, which still figures prominently, it only started there.
The sleep category is included as “new and emerging” because the opportunity has grown from the sick-care model of old in which such sleep aids as melatonin and ZzzQuil dominated. Today, savvy retailers are creating a destination solution center that incorporates
holistic remedies that have anything and everything to do with sleep — sleep trackers to measure quality sleep, sleep-inducing pillows, white noise generators and soothing aromatherapy options. These kinds of solution sets help empower consumers along their healthcare journey.
EarlySense in July presented new research indicating that its EarlySense Live home-based sensor accurately detects sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing in children when compared with polysomnography, the testing process used in clinics to detect sleeping disorders. The at-home solution leverages EarlySense’s core medical monitoring technology, which has been successfully implemented globally in hospitals, rehab and skilled nursing facilities.
“Sleep apnea is a significant health risk that affects millions of people worldwide, and can result in reduced productivity and poor school performance,” said Zvika Shinar, EarlySense’s chief scientist. “It also is associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease if left untreated. Despite this, it remains a severely under-diagnosed condition.”
There is even a place for snoring solutions in this new set. This fall, Foundation Consumer Healthcare is launching Thrivent, a new snoring solution with better sleep for both the snorer and his significant other in mind. “With 50 million to 70 million frequent snorers in the U.S. adult population, this is a significant issue,” Steve Howard, chief marketing officer at Foundation Consumer, told Drug Store News. “Snoring is the third-leading cause of divorce behind money and infidelity,” he said. “It is a really prevalent issue, and is a significant contributor to our ability to get a good night’s sleep.”
Another indicator that snoring could become a significant piece of the sleep pie? Earlier this year Sleep.ai introduced an anti-snore wearable that can detect and track snoring patterns via the investment site Indiegogo. The device sells for $89, and within a few months they raised 164% of their $50,000 goal.
But the legacy market of actual sleep aids that brings consumers to the newly dubbed sleep solution sets in the first place is still going strong. According to a Vicks survey released earlier this year, 87% of Americans have experienced trouble falling asleep. In fact, two-thirds of Americans said they had trouble falling asleep at least once a month, and nearly half reported that they experience this trouble at least once a week.
Q&A: Boiron’s Wittenberg talks company’s baby aisle debut
Boiron, long known for its Oscillococcinum flu relief and Arnicare pain relief solutions, is planning to capitalize on new opportunities in the baby care aisle this fall. Drug Store News recently discussed the new products the manufacturer of homeopathic remedies will be introducing at NACDS Total Store Expo with Boiron’s Gary Wittenberg, VP of national accounts.
Drug Store News: What is Boiron’s current focus?
Gary Wittenberg: Boiron is focusing on its new baby platform. Innovations in cold and teething medicines have been far and few between, [and] Boiron’s delivery system in both categories relies on a convenient, single liquid dose. [That] sterile packaging eliminates the need for a preservative. And the premeasured amount is convenient and portable, making it easy to take on the go. Its plastic packaging is also BPA-free.
The company is emphasizing the unique administering system while launching its new ColdCalm Liquid Doses recommended for children as young as 6 months of age, and promoting its Camilla teething medicine to fulfill parents’ unmet needs. The formulas do not contain flavors, dyes, lactose, sugar or artificial sweeteners. The only inactive ingredient is purified water.
Boiron USA plans to support these products through targeted digital marketing, sampling moms at several baby-themed consumer expos, public relations efforts and social media tactics. Sales are also driven though doctor recommendations. Boiron USA’s medical team makes office visits and attends roughly 50 medical trade shows per year, including pediatrician events for its new baby platform.
DSN: What are the opportunities in baby care? Given the recent teething recalls, are there
Wittenberg: The trend of consumers looking for natural and safe products continues to be strong and steady. This is especially true of mom looking for health options for her family. Placing more focus on the baby category is the next step in Boiron delivering the good-for-you products that today’s consumers want.
As a liquid dose, Camilia undergoes a different manufacturing technique than tablets or gels. Retailers should be assured that Boiron’s Camilia has a remarkable safety record. Since Boiron debuted Camilia in the United States 23 years ago, the company has not filed any serious adverse event reports with any regulatory authority worldwide, including the Food and Drug Administration. Camilia is registered with 18 regulatory authorities and marketed in 17 countries, mostly in Europe and North America.
DSN: What’s the bottom line?
Wittenberg: Boiron helps drug store chains further entice natural channel crossover shoppers with the convenience of one-stop shopping. The company has an established reputation and a large presence in the [cough-cold and flu] category with its flagship Oscillcooccinum flu medicine, Coldcalm and Chestal cough syrups; in the external pain category with its Arnicare Gel and Arnicare Cream; and the first aid category with its Calendula Burn, Calendula Cream for skin irritations and Arnicare Bruise.
Future Trends: Self care, wellness shift to drive innovation in new, emerging health segments
No matter where you stand with regard to Obamacare or the American Health Care Act that Congress is debating even now, one factor is certain: The cost of health care — and the consumer’s share of that cost — is only going to grow.
“At the beginning of his administration, President Trump and his leaders in health care put out five principles for healthcare reform,” Mike Tarino, principal at Tiltas Solutions, shared with attendees at a recent Nicholas Hall conference. “For our industry, the most important statement is the [one concerning tax credits] and health savings accounts. The indication here is that the administration is interested in moving control of the financial resources more toward consumers.”
That will contribute to more OTC purchases for two reasons. First, self care is inherently less expensive and more convenient than any treatment provided by a primary care team. Second, preventive care will help reduce those out-of-pocket expenditures even more. “In the next 12 to 18 months, given the current climate of health care, you’re going to see more services in the retail landscape,” Brian Owens, director of retail insights at Kantar Retail, told Drug Store News. And both cost and convenience will figure prominently for consumers, he said. “I see lower-income shoppers, specifically, running to [retail] health clinics to get lower-cost solutions versus going to urgent care [or] primary care.”
This shifting of the cost burden already has sparked a new way of approaching health care, from seeking acute sick-care solutions to more of an ongoing wellness lifestyle mindset. As consumers, payers and the government all rethink what health will look like in this country, and as retailers and their supplier partners innovate new ways to deliver on that wellness promise, expect some new, emerging OTC segments.
“From the consumer standpoint, health care is happening wherever people want to access it, increasingly outside the traditional legacy healthcare system,” Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, health economist for Think Health, told DSN. “The retail pharmacy can become a hub for health and health care in the community. I would forecast expanding switch and categories for more self care options. Consumers want that, and this particular FDA … would point to expanding categories and more options.”
Many of those segments are emerging now. Both the Food and Drug Administration and Congress are working toward creating a nonprescription hearing aid category. As more Americans realize the number of health conditions tied to better sleep, that category is evolving from the simple sale of sleep aids to the presentation of a holistic sleep solution. The trend of consumers who have grown hungry for greater transparency and “cleaner” labels as they shop for food are looking for the same in their medicines, creating a demand for more natural OTCs.
“For more than one-third of Americans, food is now seen as a better medicine than [traditional] medicine,” noted Larry Levin, EVP of consumer and shopper marketing and thought leadership at IRI. “Do drug stores need to think about assorting more food and beverage products that play into health and wellness? [Because] it’s not just about OTC and that competitive framework, it’s much wider. OTC manufacturers need to realize that their competitive set is much wider than the tunnel they play in now.”
“[Food] is the area consumers really want to deal with the most,” Sarasohn-Kahn said. “Nobody really wants to take medicine. People would rather project-manage health through food as prescription. From a public policy standpoint, we’re seeing more Medicaid programs that coordinate with SNAP benefits at the state level, cooperating with farmer’s markets and grocery programs to expand benefits.”
As more U.S. couples decide to pursue a family later in life, that’s creating additional fertility challenges and the need for wellness solutions throughout the entire pregnancy process, from preconception through delivery. And the whole self-care movement is creating greater awareness around disease prevention, a factor that feeds the opportunity for more vaccination services provided at retail pharmacy.
“There are still large, untapped opportunities within the retail setting,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “We see this as an opportunity to drive this legacy, upstream healthcare mindset to last-mile retail,” he said. “[There are] a lot of opportunities to design new category management systems for retailers based on care transition.”