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Draining devices demand heavy-duty power

BY Barbara White-Sax

Sales of primary batteries used in consumer products should grow 2.4% each year, according to research from Freedonia Group.

That’s good news for a category that has seen a fair share of decline in recent years. Freedonia Group sees a shift in the product mix toward more expensive primary batteries, particularly superpremium alkaline and primary 
lithium products.

Alkaline batteries will continue to dominate the market, and should generate 84% of sales in 2015.

 

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

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Amped-up print greetings compete with digital cards

BY Barbara White-Sax

The greeting card category is shifting. Category giants American Greetings and Hallmark face the threat of competition from e-cards and are challenged by increased segmentation of the card category. Hallmark estimates that over the past decade, the number of greeting cards sold in the United States has dropped from 6 billion to 5 billion annually.


The Greeting Card Association reports that while greeting card unit sales have fluctuated over the past several years, the industry continues to generate annual revenues of $7 billion to $8 billion.


A leaner, meaner category can be profitable for retailers. A recent study commissioned by Avanti Press revealed that humor was by far the most popular type of greeting card. “Of consumers surveyed, 96% said they prefer funny greeting cards,” said Marc Trobman, VP business development for Avanti. Trobman said a majority of consumers want greeting cards with goofy — rather than edgy — humor. 


Avanti’s study also found that consumers will pay more for cards they believe offer added value. Cards featuring sound, light, motion, video and pop-up aspects have become more prevalent, and consumers are trading up when they feel there’s value in the product. Avanti recently introduced a coaster card as part of its StandOuts line. The card includes a pop-out drink coaster stamped with “Happy Birthday” inside. 


“The card is priced at $4.99, a premium over our core card price of $2.99, but consumers will pay it because they see the value in the added coaster that can be used later,” Trobman said.


“Today the greeting card and stationery market is increasingly shifting from mass to ‘class.’ One-size cards no longer fit many or most,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. 

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Record patent expirations roil Rx market

BY DSN STAFF

In 2011 and 2012, the steady surge of blockbuster pharmaceuticals falling off the patent cliff became a stampede. An astonishing number of big-selling drugs that had established and sustained branded drug makers’ profits for years fell victim to the expiration of their patent lives and market exclusivity, roiling the pharmaceutical marketplace and redefining the pricing model for many of the most widely prescribed classes of medicines.


Among the products that have lost patent protection since last fall were the world’s two biggest-selling medicines, Pfizer’s cholesterol treatment Lipitor and the anti-clotting blockbuster Plavix from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi. Other drugs losing protection this year include AstraZeneca’s antipsychotic mega-seller, Seroquel; Merck’s biggest-selling drug, the $3.4 billion asthma and allergy medication Singulair; Forest Laboratories’ anti
depressant, Lexapro; Actos, the oral Type 2 diabetes medicine from Takeda Pharmaceuticals; and Viagra, Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction treatment.


Over the next two years, the scheduled list of patent losses also will include such blockbusters as OxyContin, Nexium, Cymbalta and Celebrex. According to IMS Health, drugs generating more than $102 billion in combined annual sales will reach the end of their patent life over the next five years.


For generic drug companies, the exposure of so many of the world’s biggest-selling medicines to me-too competition for the first time has been a sales and profit bonanza. The expiring patents also herald savings for public and private health plans, not to mention patients themselves.


For branded drug makers, the patent cliff is forcing a shift in Big Pharma’s research and development efforts.

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