With rising healthcare costs and an abundance of information at their fingertips, consumers are continuing to take a proactive approach to their health. Sales of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements are expected to reach $17.2 billion in 2016, a year-over-year increase of 5%. But contradictory studies about specific supplements and news about the efficacy of vitamins sometimes leaves consumers confused, frustrated, and wondering if they even work at all. Here, we examine the challenges and opportunities for vitamins and nutritional supplement brands.
Healthy Lifestyles Spur Vitamin & Supplement Use
Half of all adults in the U.S. say they are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and this is consistent with vitamin use—61% say they’ve taken a multivitamin in the past year and 53% have taken single letter vitamins such as vitamin C or D. Whether they’re trying to care for a specific medical issue or prevent future health problems, consumers are turning to natural methods to help address their concerns. But how do they know which products are right for them? Almost half of consumers rely on the advice of their physician and a quarter get recommendations from family and friends. Beyond that, 21% of consumers buy supplements that they’ve discovered through their own online research and 13% learned about products through magazine ads and articles. This suggests that brands build strong practitioner relationships and robust digital and traditional marketing strategies will have more opportunities to get their message in front of consumers.
Explain What Products Do, Not What They Are
Consumers are feeling stressed out and uncertain about the future and that’s reflected in the products seeing an uptick in the category. Probiotics used to promote digestive health, fish and animal oils that support the cardiovascular system, and melatonin used to maintain healthy sleep cycles are seeing the strongest growth. Similarly, products that clearly call out the benefit of their product, rather than primary ingredients, are performing well. Supplements with names like, “Totally Calm” and “Beauty Sleep,” eliminate guesswork and clarify product intent, making it easier for the customer to determine if it’s effective. However, brands still have to be careful not to overstate product claims to maintain a trusted relationship with consumers.
Easy-To-Use Formats Encourage Replenishment
With so many priorities demanding consumer attention, remembering to take supplements often falls to the bottom of the “to do” list. Perhaps that’s why gummy formats have become a mainstay in the industry. Consumers perceive gummy vitamins as a small indulgence that also offers health benefits. Viewed as a treat rather than a chore, it’s more likely that consumers will remember to take their supplements. It’s with this understanding that manufacturers are expanding their offerings to include other non-pill formats. Convenient, portable, easy-to-use formats like gum, candy, or mints, increases the likelihood that consumers will remember to take their supplements and in turn, require more frequent replenishment.
Transparency Builds Confidence in Brands
We’ve seen interest in natural and organic formats across all industries and supplements are no exception—52% of Americans believe they’re better for their health. Increasingly, consumers are demanding information about a product’s ingredient list, provenance, manufacturing process, and safety testing. To address this, many VMS manufacturers are employing third-party testing facilities to certify the quality and purity of their products and assure consumers that the ingredients listed on the bottle are actually what they’re putting in their bodies. By utilizing third-party certifications, increasing testing mechanisms, and meeting or exceeding government industry standards, VMS players may help ward off negative headlines while simultaneously gaining consumer trust.
Whether it’s getting a better night’s sleep, boosting immunity, or improving their appearance, consumers are invested in healthy lifestyles and interested in supplements that help them to achieve their goals. Make sure your brand is top-of-mind throughout their path-to-purchase. Women’s Marketing helps health and wellness brands to reach consumers through a suite of strategic marketing services. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand reach those that matter most to your brand.
Source: Mintel: Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements, U.S. October 2016