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.

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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.