Consumer health represents all over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements sold to consumer without prescription through pharmacies, online retailers, convenience stores and so on. The main trends in this category are described below.
Vitamins and Dietary Supplements are the major growth engines in the market
Locals are increasingly interested in leading healthy and active lifestyles. This trend has caused significant growths in vitamins and dietary supplement sales alongside an increase in articles regarding the benefits of vitamins and dietary supplements. This trend has also caused a decrease in demand for OTC medications, as consumers prefer natural, alternative remedies.
Online channel increase competition and expand product variety in the vitamins category
In recent years, due to reduced regulation of personal import and lowering of the customs barrier, many consumers have been exposed to new websites that offer multinational and other brands at attractive prices. The trend is expected to continue with the entry of new website such as Puritan's Pride and Vcare; this will in turn decrease prices as product availability and competition increase. Super-Pharm, the largest pharm chain in the market, also entered online retailing in 2017.
HMO shares increase
Private pharmacies have been losing sales as chained pharmacies and HMOs increase. As HMOs are able to offer lower-priced products, locals prefer to purchase their medications there, causing a decrease in the traditional consumer health market. Many locals are price driven, and therefore prefer to purchase their medications at the lowest prices possible. HMOs is estimated to account for over 20% of the market, and continues to grow at a fast pace while the traditional market experiences a slower growth.
Locals seek alternatives to medicines
As many ailments that locals use OTC medications to treat tend to be recurring, such as colds and digestive remedies, many have begun trying home-remedies and other alternatives instead of traditional medications. In addition, medical devices have penetrated many markets, including eye care, causing a decrease in the OTC market.
Slow growth expected over forecast period
As of July 2017, chained pharmacies are required to publicize their prices, enabling locals to compare prices before purchases; this is expected to drive value sales down. In addition, the shift towards HMOs is expected to remain strong throughout the forecast period, slowing the growth of the traditional market. Preventive measures, such as wearables and healthier nutrition, are expected to decrease the demand for OTC medications as well.
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