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Mintel: American women most likely to use anti-aging face creams

BY Antoinette Alexander

CHICAGO — American women lead the way in anti-aging facial skin care usage when compared with their counterparts in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, according to new research from Mintel.

The $2.3 billion (in 2011) U.S. anti-aging skin care market has experienced substantial growth in the past five years, as women continue to clamor for the next advancement to stave off the signs of aging.

While the desire to find the fountain of youth is a global concern, recent Mintel research found that American women lead the way in anti-aging facial skin care usage when compared with their counterparts in Germany, France and the U.K., while the West (United States, U.K. and France) launched the most anti-aging skin care products between 2009 and 2011 in comparison with Japan and China. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. women have used anti-aging creams and serums for the face, compared with 23% of U.K. women, 24% of the female population in France, 25% of women in Germany and 26% of women in Spain, according to Mintel.

But it’s not all creams and serums in the anti-aging fight. Devices could become the weapons of choice in the battle against fine lines and wrinkles. While usage is modest (just 4% of U.S. women have used an anti-aging device), 35% of American women report that while they haven’t used an at-home anti-aging device, they would be open to trying one. Furthermore, women seem more interested in at-home treatments than visiting a professional. Forty percent of U.S. women have used or would be interested in using an at-home treatment, compared to 32% who have visited/would visit a professional for non-invasive anti-aging treatments.

Meanwhile, product launch activity seems to be the greatest in the West. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, 46% of total skin care product launches in the U.K. carried an anti-aging claim from 2009 to 2011. France and the United States were only slightly higher, with 47% of skin care launches touting the anti-aging claim. China and Japan followed with much lower numbers — 27% and 19%, respectively.

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Is an ounce of prevention taking a pound of cure out of the pharmacy?

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — More people had gotten their influenza vaccine by November 2011 than they had by November 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and last year’s triumvirate virus was a good match for the predominant flu strains in circulation. All of this leads into the lowest flu season on record, and that begs the question: As more retailers continue to build out their vaccination programs, particularly using the influenza vaccine as a potential gateway to its more comprehensive vaccine offerings, are they sacrificing their cough-cold sales to make that happen?

(THE NEWS: CDC: 2011-2012 influenza season lowest on record. For the full story, click here.)

The answer, in fact, might be yes. "I do think, in fact, that as vaccine coverage increases, we ought to see less disease in the United States," said Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology prevention branch at the CDC’s Influenza Division during a wrap-up with reporters on the 2011-2012 season. "So I think although this season has been mild and the onset has been late and that can’t be attributed solely to vaccine practices, I do think increasing vaccine coverage in the United States will certainly — and probably is certainly — playing a role in less transmission and less disease this year," he said. "Second, what we know, and as I said, the vaccine coverage rates continue to trend upward. That should lead to less transmission over time and less severe disease over time, especially if high-risk people continue to get vaccinated in higher numbers."

The reality is a little more convoluted, of course. Even as flu vaccines expand, those vaccines have no impact on rhinoviruses, which is the cause behind the common cold. And that means, theoretically at least, you can have a low incidence of flu in a season and yet still a high incidence of the common cold.

And even coming out of the lowest flu season on record, trailing 52-week sales of cough-cold remedies were still up in food, drug and mass (without Walmart) some 5% across both liquid and tablet remedies. In liquids, Procter & Gamble’s Vicks Nyquil was up 3.9% to $111.6 million for the 52 weeks ended April 15, while Reckitt Benkiser, which launched Mucinex Fast Max in the past year, realized sales increases of 330.9% to $53.6 million across its Mucinex liquid offerings (data courtesy SymphonyIRI Group).

Those cough-cold remedies also include allergy, more of a year-round ailment, as evidenced by the strong performance of the allergy remedy Allegra that predominated cough-cold tablet sales — up 506.9% to $182.6 million.

But the question remains: Does a stronger position in influenza vaccine at retail mean taking a hit in both pharmaceutical (antibiotics for upper respiratory bacterial infections and antivirals for the flu) and nonprescription upper respiratory remedies? Don’t get us wrong: Flu shots, and vaccinations in general, are important to community pharmacy, both in terms of the public health role and in terms of generating new sources of revenue for pharmacy beyond dispensing. But the OTC sales related to cough-cold remedies is an important part community pharmacy’s present and future, too. Is that ounce of prevention taking a pound of cure out of the pharmacy?

What do you think? Is there some risk in shifting from a sick care to a well care model? Will that change the merchandise mix someday? Post your comments below.

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Has the supercenter format seen its day?

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Meijer runs great stores and is a market leader in the areas its serves. Meijer customers love Meijer. But, numbers don’t lie.

(THE NEWS: Meijer celebrates 50th anniversary of supercenter concept. For the full story, click here)

Trips to supercenters are down as consumers afraid to plunk down large sums of cash at once to do big pantry fill shopping trips are trading those trips for more quick trips, and those trips — at least, according to the numbers — are going to drug and dollar stores, and (to a lesser extent) club stores, where the people who aren’t afraid to spend a lot at once are sure they are at least getting the sharpest value.

To underscore this point, SymphonyIRI Group released a report in the second half of 2011, which indicated that cross-channel shopping is alive and well. The report found that, across CPG channels, purchase frequency increased 2% during the past year, with grocery, dollar and club channel trends closely mirroring industry average. Across other channels, though, trends significantly vary. For example, frequency within the drug channel accelerated sharply within the last year, increasing by 6.7%. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including shifting trip mission trends.

Quick trips, small “need-it-now” excursions with an average basket size of less than $40, have become more common as consumers look to minimize large one-time outlays of cash, reported SymphonyIRI SVP marketing John McIndoe.

Meanwhile, the big-box retailers are experimenting with smaller formats — including Meijer. Target, for example, has developed CityTarget and Walmart has several variations of smaller formats in play, ranging from its Walmart.com test sites in California — which showcase its online merchandise in small stores — to Walmart Express, which is a further downsizing of the supercenter and Neighborhood Market formats.

So, what do you think? Has the supercenter format seen its day? Do retailers need to think small? Post your comments below.

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