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Copper devices catch consumers’ eye
In recent months, copper-infused compression devices have caught the attention of shoppers in the first aid aisle.
From socks to gloves to braces for the back, knee, ankle and elbow, these products are providing pain relief to thousands of weekend warriors and people with circulation problems.
(To view the full Category Review, click here.)
Marketers of these items — including Idea Village (Copper Fit Sleeves), Telebrands (Copper Hands) and Ontel Products (Miracle Copper socks) — said that the copper fibers woven into their products provide support for muscle stiffness, soreness and pain; reduce recovery time; and improve circulation.
According to recent IRI data, copper-infused supports from Idea Village, Telebrands and Ontel racked up a nearly $23.8 million in combined sales last year. While still only comprising a small portion of the $695.8 million muscle and body support devices market, these items have shown some of the strongest gains in the category.
“They are still not selling up to the typical category levels,” said Tabs Group founder and CEO Kurt Jetta, “ but they appear to be building an audience as their velocity improves month-by-month.”
In fact, he said, Copper Fit and Copper Hands are two of the four brands — Bell-Horn and Natures Pillows’ BeActive being the others — that have accounted for half of the growth in the sports bandages segment over the past three months.
Marketers of copper-infused first aid products note that the metal has a centuries-old reputation for providing positive health benefits, including strong evidence of powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Copper recently was registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material. Copper-infused items wick sweat away from the body to prevent chafing and rashes, and because copper has strong antimicrobial properties, these products remove odors, the companies said.
Miracle Copper, for instance, said its socks combine two technologies — graduated compression and copper-infused fibers — to provide a host of benefits, including improving circulation, reducing swelling and relieving aches and pains.
The buzz surrounding copper-infused first aid products has led retailers and suppliers alike to step up their promotions for these items. During the first week of June, data complied by ECRM shows that Idea Village’s Copper Fit was the third-most promoted brand of elastic wraps, supports and braces.