Three new players sniff out a spot on retailers’ nasal care shelves
NEW YORK —Climbing at a rate of 18.6% to $66.6 million—according to SymphonyIRI Group data for the 52 weeks ended April 18 across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart)—the three leading SKUs in the nasal irrigation category already are driving pretty significant growth as part of a set that’s oftentimes adjacent to cough-cold.
And the category is expected to get quite a bit larger as three new players come to market, especially as the increased marketing will be sure to raise awareness among the 90 million Americans who suffer from sinusitis, one of the conditions benefited by a nasal irrigation system. Today, only around 35% of that market uses some form of sinus wash, said Michael Wakeman, Waterpik VP marketing. And it’s a need that skews heavier toward the drug channel—48% of consumers buying in the category go to a pharmacy for their product.
Top three nasal irrigation systems
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Waterpik is looking to parlay its already-recognizable oral care brand into the space, coming to market with six SKUs as part of its Waterpik SinuSense line. And like its line of water-flosser products, Waterpik represents a trade-up premium opportunity across the set, especially with its Water Pulsator SKU, a battery-powered device that creates a gentle pulsating stream for a “maximum cleanse.” Waterpik is planning to support the launch with as much as $10 million in marketing during the 2010-2011 cough-cold-flu season.
Meanwhile, TechWorld Medicals is launching the only nasal irrigation system carrying a 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. That means the device has been deemed safe and effective by the FDA as compared with similar products already on the market. That investment in obtaining a 510(k) clearance ought to resonate with healthcare professionals.
“We’re working to build consumer awareness through the doctor community,” said Michael Lupacchini, national sales manager at TechWorld. That includes ear, nose and throat specialists, as well as allergists and family doctors. Educating those healthcare practitioners around the benefits of nasal irrigation is one factor that will drive increased trial in this category, Lupacchini added.
Both Waterpik and TechWorld have incorporated backflow technology as a point of differentiation with their nasal irrigation systems.
The third new nasal irrigation product to come to market actually already has been on the market in excess of 115 years. By word of mouth alone, The Alkolol Co. moved more than 85,000 pieces across the top five retailers last year, all a result of a recommendation from an ear, nose and throat specialist or a family doctor.
“The customer [already] has driven the demand for this product, and they’ve gone to great lengths and expense to be able to acquire that product,” said Curt Behrens, president of P2B, the sales and marketing firm representing Alkolol. “They have to go to the pharmacy, provide a code, go home and wait for three days and then come back and pick up their product.… The customer has identified this niche.”
NACDS puts a new spin on Meet the Market
SAN DIEGO This year the National Association of Chain Drug Stores introduced two new features to its Meet the Market format. First, NACDS hosted a Meet the Market Presentation Template webinar twice prior to Meet the Market, in which NACDS introduced a meeting template that succinctly captured all of the information retailers typically use to evaluate a new product or company.
Also new to Meet the Market were the booths of 10 service companies — trade media and professional education, merchandising consultants and marketing/media information companies — which afforded an opportunity for new and smaller suppliers to meet with these organizations.
“New companies have a need not only to meet with retailers, obviously, they have a need for their business,” noted Jim Whitman, NACDS SVP meetings and conferences. Another ongoing improvement is the productivity within each meeting, Whitman added. “We keep refining the match, the appointments,” he said.
This year, the Meet the Market format — in which smaller and new suppliers have 10-minute meetings with their category buyers — represented more than 8,000 face-to-face pre-arranged appointments.
Retail clinic growth slowing down? Not a chance
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The news that Target is looking to expand its retail-based clinic business this year is yet one more indicator that reports of the demise of retail clinic growth have been greatly exaggerated.
(THE NEWS: Target to expand its retail clinic presence. For the full story, click here)
As the article states, Target, which opened its first clinic in 2006, is looking to open up eight new locations this September. It already operates 28 locations in Minnesota and Maryland.
It wasn’t so long ago — April to be exact — that CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic indicated that it could double its current number of clinics in five years.
Why the growth? Well, aside from the aging population and a shortage of primary care physicians, a major catalyst is healthcare reform, which will mean that 32 million people who currently are uninsured will have healthcare coverage. With emergency rooms already overflowing, and primary care physicians already over-extended, having a retail clinic nearby where patients can receive convenient, quality and affordable health care will only become increasingly important.
Meanwhile, RediClinic, which has 22 clinics in H-E-B stores in Houston and Austin, Texas, is cranking up its marketing efforts and has tapped former Duane Reade executive Jeff Thompson as VP marketing. Thompson will be responsible for RediClinic’s consumer and partner marketing activities, including developing and implementing strategic customer acquisition/retention programs, new product delivery and brand strategy.
Thompson most recently served as VP marketing for Duane Reade.
Clearly, there continues to be significant growth opportunities for clinics — both in terms of the number of clinic locations and the scope of services offered within the clinics. As mentioned earlier, there are 32 million reasons why the growth will be quite dramatic.