A major shift from heavy buying to light buying
A key trend captured by the 2016 TABS Analytics Vitamin and Minerals Supplements study is the continued decline in the number of heavy buyers (those who purchased more than three types of vitamins in a year). Heavy-buyer penetration peaked at 40% in 2012, but in 2016, heavy-buyer penetration dropped to 30%.
(Click here to view the full VMS Report.)
“We see a meaningful shift away from heavy buying and toward light buying,” noted Kurt Jetta, president of TABS Analytics. They represent only 7% of the buyers, down from 10% of buyers two years ago, but account for 30% of sales.
The decline in heavy buyers is particularly noticeable among women, which has gone from 45% in 2012 to just 32% in 2016. Despite this drop in heavy buyers, overall purchase incidence among female buyers has increased to an all-time high of 82%, driven by more light buyers.
The 2016 VMS study also found that heavy buying among younger consumers (ages 18 years to 54 years old) has dropped from 25% in 2015 to 21% in 2016. However, consumers 55 years old and older are twice as likely to be heavy buyers (43%).
This large drop in heavy buyers occurred primarily in the mass market channels, which has caused mass market penetration to decline for the past two years, TABS noted. Specialty stores and online stores have held onto their heavy buyer base and also gained light buyers.
This is the first time since 2010 that TABS has tracked a shift in the vitamin market away from mass market and towards specialty brick and mortar. However, mass market is still the most-shopped channel with 65% of buyers shopping in it exclusively, while only 14% of all buyers shop exclusively at non-mass channels (online or in specialty stores).
The study found that 55% of all shopping visits are to Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, online retailers and food stores.
The online retail channel is the top outlet for sales of vitamin, mineral and supplements, hitting $2 billion and surpassing Walmart’s vitamin sales of $1.7 billion in 2016, according to the study.
Millennials making big impact on dietary supplement category sales
Perhaps because of their parents and grandparents, millennials are taking a shine to the use of dietary supplements as a strategy toward being healthier, according to the 2016 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Overall, as many as 170 million U.S. adults, or 71% of the population, take dietary supplements. Different from previous years, the 2016 survey points to similar supplement-consumption patterns among younger and middle-aged adult populations, with 70% of adults ages 18 years to 34 years old and of those aged 35 years to 54 years old reporting dietary supplement use.
(Click here to view the full VMS Report.)
In comparison, only 65% of adults aged 18 to 34 years old reported taking dietary supplements in 2015, while 68% of adults ages 35 years to 54 years olds said the same. “It is exciting to see the growth in supplement usage among younger adults, especially after our 2015 survey indicated that increased usage should be anticipated among those ages 18 to 34 over the next five years,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP communications at CRN. “Every industry is talking about the millennials and the impact this generation will have. Our data shows the impact is already being made on the dietary supplement industry as young adults are increasingly incorporating dietary supplements into their health regimens.”
The increase in supplement usage among younger adults also can potentially be correlated with the shift seen in the most common reasons users take dietary supplements. Historically, the top-two reasons for taking supplements among supplement users were for “overall health-and-wellness benefits” and “to fill nutrient gaps in my diet.” This year, however, energy (30%) has risen to become the No. 2 reason for taking supplements among supplement users, behind only “for overall health-and-wellness benefits” (42%), which remains top of mind. “To fill nutrient gaps in my diet” now ranks third when it comes to reasons why supplement users take supplements, at 28%.
Of course, increased interest in millennials isn’t the only demographic trend contributing to increased supplement interest — baby boomers are still influencing a groundswell in usage, as well. This year’s results indicate that, as in years past, the oldest population surveyed (adults aged 55-plus years old) maintains the highest percentage of supplement use at 74%. The 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that the five most popular supplements are the multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and vitamin B. According to IRI, sales of multivitamins reached $1.5 billion on 0.3% year-over-year growth for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 23 across total U.S. multi-outlet channels. Vitamin D generated $394.6 million, up 9.1%; vitamin C generated $324.2 million, down 4.3%; sales of calcium were down 9.6% to $233.8 million; and sales of vitamin B were up 1.3% to $455.5 million. Another finding, which is consistent with the findings from CRN’s previous surveys, is the high level of confidence Americans have in supplements. According to the 2016 survey, 85% of U.S. adults have overall confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of dietary supplements. Among supplement users it’s even higher, with 96% indicating confidence.
Interest in vitamins, minerals and supplements has never been greater
Whether it’s baby boomers looking to boost their health profiles heading into their golden years or millennials attempting to fortify themselves against the rising cost of health care, interest in dietary supplements, sports nutrition, diet aids, meal-replacement solutions and even energy shots has never been higher, according to a Kline consumer survey released last year.
(Click here to view the full VMS Report.)
The company’s “Natural OTCs” study this past summer found that consumer interest in the market of non-allopathic solutions through 2015 was up by 11.4%, Kline noted, compared with an increased predisposition for the overall over-the-counter market of 4.2%. More than half of the consumers surveyed by Kline indicated they use natural OTCs more now than one year ago and nearly two-thirds of consumers said they use them now more than five years ago, an indication that there is a growing interest in natural OTCs.
That attraction toward supplements to support a healthier lifestyle or aid in the prevention of disease is particularly prevalent among seniors.
For example, there’s more and more growth across adult gummy multivitamins, Laura Mahecha, healthcare industry manager for Kline Market Research, told Drug Store News. Other pockets of growth include omega-3 supplements, co-Q10 and vitamin D. “Anything that’s aimed at the aging population,” she said.
This rise in consumer interest, particularly among baby boomers, also translates directly into sales growth. DSN estimates the supplement, diet aid and intrinsic health category as a whole was up 5.5%, reaching $13.3 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 30, according to a review of IRI data across total U.S. multi-outlet channels.
Kline projects supplement growth to continue along a 2% or 3% annual trajectory. Increased supplement sales will be tempered by a similar increase in healthier eating, however, Mahecha added.
Pharmavite’s Nature Made brand within its letter vitamin offerings tops the top 10 bestselling brand list with $367.4 million in sales over the 52-week period, according to IRI, with Abbott Nutrition’s Ensure adult nutrition shakes ($359.8 million) and Clif Bar’s nutritional bars ($335.4 million), rounding out the top three. Beyond shakes, bars and supplements, Living Essential’s 5-hour Energy shots ($323.3 million) also continue to crack that top-10 product list.
Across the following pages, DSN presents the latest consumer usage study from the Council for Responsible Nutrition and a TABS Analytics breakdown around online sales of vitamins, supplements and nutritional offerings. On the regulatory front, CRN CEO Steve Mister provided DSN with a breakdown on what a new Trump Administration and 60 freshmen Congress leaders means for the supplement industry. Following that are products retailers should be keeping their eyes on and a breakdown of five merchandising opportunities expected to drive sales in 2017, including a format trend away from pills, a new category that passes the “sniff” test, an opportunity to capture mom’s interest at the point of conception, a muscle-bound category that reaches beyond “gym rat nation” and a holistic approach to nutrition that ditches dieting in favor of nutrition management.