NPD activity in CHC in Q1 2020

CHCINACTION

At the same time as our DB6 division publishes data on the sales performance of the global CHC market in the first quarter of 2020, it’s also a good time to reflect on headline new product development trends in the period from January to March 2020, using our CHC New Products Tracker tool which covers 20 key markets. The major development that stands out this year is the dramatic fall in the volume of new product development (NPD) in March 2020, compared to the same month in the three previous years.

March is traditionally the month we see a sharp rise in NPD activity after the quieter month of February, but this year Covid-19 halted that trend. So far for March 2020, we only have 271 entries – including launches, Rx-to-OTC switches, line extensions, rollouts and relaunches – recorded in our Tracker archive, compared to much higher totals in March 2019 (464 entries), March 2018 (434) and March 2017 (397).

This sharp fall in global NPD activity in March 2020 is likely the result of CHC marketers shelving plans to launch new products in response to the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is whether these plans have been postponed or abandoned altogether? We know that several CHC companies have streamlined their portfolios during the pandemic to ensure continued production of core SKUs, so it’s possible portfolio innovation has fallen down the priority list. Alternatively, we may see a surge in NPD activity in the remainder of 2020. Only time will tell.

What will also be interesting to see play out is how NPD activity in 2020 differs in terms of its focus on fast-growing subcategories, fuelled by the Covid-driven spike in demand. For example, we saw an increasing number of antiseptics & disinfectants launched in March 2020, compared to the same month in previous years. This trend will likely be replicated in other subcategories, such as herbal & natural immune stimulants, when we come to analyse NPD activity in Q2 2020 and later quarters.

Thousands of innovations are launched every year in the global consumer healthcare market, but relatively few offer notable new benefits for consumers in terms of delivery format or formulation. Which new products are breaking through and offering a unique proposition? Contact melissa.lee@nicholashall.com to secure your copy of Innovation in CHC, a report showcasing many of the “wow brands” launched in 2019 and highlighting ingredient and delivery format trends that continue to characterise the market in 2020.

 

Sales and innovation rising fast for sedatives & sleep aids

CHCINACTION

Covid-19’s impact on the consumer healthcare market is now well-established, with a notable spike in sales of certain CHC subcategories like analgesics, vitamin C supplements and antiseptics & disinfectants. Indeed, a fascinating recent report in the FT story reveals the lengths that RB has gone to in order to maintain supply of antiseptic brand Dettol during the pandemic. In addition, we’re also seeing some perhaps less expected upsurges in demand for other products as a result of Covid-19, for example eye care treatments and sedatives & sleep aids.

In the latter case, anxiety caused by the pandemic is leading consumers to seek refuge in products that promote relaxation and reduce stress. In response to this trend, US retailer CVS has this month created a new “Calm & Comfort” section in thousands of its pharmacies to accommodate this growing need for stress relief products, from weighted blankets and aromatherapy to supplements that promote enhanced mood and sleep, according to a report in WWD. Even before Covid-19, we were noticing a clear upturn in sales of sedatives & sleep aids, partly driven by rising NPD activity – as demonstrated by the chart below – and the pandemic is accelerating this trend.

Sedatives + sleep, 2017-19

According to CHC New Products Tracker, NPD activity in the sedatives & sleep aids subcategory reached an all-time high in 2019 (with almost 150 entries added to the database), and this upsurge in innovation was reflected in global sales growth, which accelerated to 7.3% in 2019 according to DB6, driven by the US market. Notable developments so far in this subcategory in 2020 include P&G’s New Chapter One Daily Multiherbal Stress Relief and Sleep Well products, as well as R3set, which will be a key feature of CVS’ new Calm & Comfort section. 

R3set, a new brand focused on helping people to manage stress, was recently launched in selected Target and 4,400+ CVS stores. The first two dietary supplements – citrus mint-flavoured Calm (l-theanine, valerian root + ahiflower) and lavender mint-flavoured Unwind (ashwagandha, passion flower + chamomile) – are formulated by co-Founder Dr Eric First, along with development partner Lonza. Each microdose capsule is coated with aromatherapy oils to provide a soothing experience and the products come with instructions for a simple breathing exercise. The supplements retail for US$19.99 for a 14-count bottle; 14-day combo packs cost US$34.99 and 5-day starter packs US$14.99. 

Where will NPD take the CHC market in the future? Find out in our recently published report, Innovation in CHC: NPD & Innovation in CHC under the Spotlight! This report, drawing on Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker, assesses the global picture of CHC innovation, featuring ingredient trends, delivery format trends, analysing innovation trends by region and by marketer, plus much more! To order your copy, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Highlights from the Q4 update

CHCINACTION

The latest quarterly report on the global CHC market is now available on the CHC DASHBOARD website, including data & trends on the market’s performance at a global, regional and country level (for all 63 markets) in the year to end-December 2019. Here we highlight some of the key topline trends from this update, selecting one major global development from each of our company, category and brand watch sections.

Company Watch: Stada enters the global Top 20

While the list of global Top 5 CHC marketers remains relatively stable, one company that shot up the global rankings in late 2019 thanks to M&A activity, and now claims the No.11 position worldwide, is Stada. The German marketer agreed two major deals in November 2019 that elevated it into the global Top 20. First, as part of Takeda’s goal to divest around US$10bn in non-core assets, Stada bought around 20 selected OTC and Rx products marketed in Russia, Georgia & CIS countries, for US$660mn. Secondly, Stada entered into an agreement to acquire Walmark from Mid Europa Partners for an undisclosed sum. With global No.9 Takeda reportedly now planning to sell its wholly owned OTC subsidiary, Takeda Consumer Healthcare, Stada may feature soon among the Top 10.

9-11 Global.png

Category Watch: Analgesics already accelerating before Q1

Driven by accelerating growth in North America and Europe in Q4, analgesics recorded an upturn of 4.7% in 2019, ensuring the category’s best performance in three years. This trend looks set to accelerate even further in Q1 2020, with various top marketers reporting very strong analgesics growth for their key brands in the latest quarterly results, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, topical analgesics still grew faster than systemics, though the latter showed the strongest improvement in growth, powered in particular by upturns in USA, Brazil and Germany.

Brand Watch: Vicks and Tylenol race ahead

Only two CHC brands generate more than US$1bn in sales globally – P&G’s global No.1 Vicks and J&J’s global No.2 Tylenol – and both also grew more than twice as fast as the global CHC market overall in 2019. The latest company quarterly results indicate that both brands have shown further acceleration in Q1 2020, driven in particular by gains in North America.

Thank you to everybody who attended Nicholas’ CHC Trends Webinar! If you were unable to join live, you can now purchase a recording of the full discussion, and submit up to 3 questions via email. To find out more or to purchase your copy of the recording, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com

Assessing Covid-19’s impact on the VMS industry

CHCINACTION

Despite various countries going into lockdown, governments are still allowing “essential” services and businesses to remain operational, putting the role of the dietary supplements industry in the spotlight. In some countries, like New Zealand, supplement marketers are allowed to maintain their operations as long as they are supplying “essential” businesses, such as pharmacies and supermarkets. However, according to the guidance provided by New Zealand Natural Health Products, health food stores do not fit the description of “essential” businesses.

The situation is similar but more complex in the USA, home to the world’s No.1 VMS market. While essential food and drug suppliers are open for business during Covid-19 restrictions, industry leaders are working to ensure that the same applies to speciality health food stores and cannabis dispensaries. No specific federal regulation is in place, but “essential business” status is being determined at state and local level. While California most decisively classified workers supporting cannabis and dietary supplement retail as essential workers, and Illinois added licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centres to its essential healthcare operations list, not all states have set such guidelines.

tanyaconstantine-9834996ea1df40d3ab707d31df8fb3b3.jpg

In a letter to state governors, industry associations including the Consumer Healthcare Products Association urge that supplement supply chains remain open in all states, arguing that now more than ever, consumers need essential nutrients to stay fit and healthy and proactively reduce their risk of chronic diseases without burdening an already overstretched healthcare system. They write: “As each of you plan your own approach to this challenging issue, we respectfully request you mirror White House / Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines and make special accommodation for critical infrastructure industries that specifically include not only conventional foods but all subcategories of food, including dietary supplements, infant formulas, medical foods and spices & flavours.”

As for how the Covid-19 crisis will affect the VMS market, it’s clear that some categories stand to benefit more than others. Herbal & natural immune stimulants and vitamin C supplements are likely to see the biggest boost, as long as supply chains can be maintained. In certain markets, such as India and China, there is likely to be a rise in sales of country-specific natural remedies (Ayurvedic medicine and TCM) positioned for immunity support, though marketers will have to be wary of government clampdowns on products that are claimed to prevent or cure Covid-19.

For a full analysis of Covid-19’s impact on the global CHC market, pick up a copy of our all-new Hot Topic review Coronavirus 2020 and its potential impact on CHC from Nicholas Hall’s CIMA division. Buyers of this report will also receive a situation update in six months time. For more information, or to purchase your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

e-Commerce Developing Fast in Southern Europe

CHCINACTION

As more and more countries go into lockdown to enforce social distancing, the way that consumers do their shopping is of course having to change dramatically. Some countries are better adapted to this change than others – according to a recent report in the Financial Times, southern European countries like Italy and Spain currently only have low e-Commerce penetration, with respective shares of 4% and 5% of total retail revenues (prior to the Covid-19 pandemic).

France (10%) has a higher share than the two countries at its southern border, but still lags behind other markets in Europe (20% in the UK) and globally (36% in China). However, this situation looks set to change fast, with Covid-19 leading to a revolution in e-Commerce sales of groceries in southern Europe – for example, according to the FT report, supermarket chain Carrefour stated that its online customer base in Italy has already doubled to 110,000. Is this a trend that will outlast the current crisis?

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 12.14.41.png

And what impact will Covid-19 have on online sales of consumer healthcare products? Our recently published Digital Marketing & e-Commerce Report outlined the Top 20 leading internal & mail order markets for CHC products, with China and the USA the clear leaders, followed by Japan, Germany and the UK. Inevitably, the projected growth rates for 2020 will have to be revised, especially given this fast-changing crisis could also lead to changes in regulations governing the online sale of OTC medicines.

For example, Europe’s largest e-Commerce pharmacy group, Zur Rose, today submitted a request to Switzerland’s Federal Office for Public Health calling for a temporary exception that would allow mail order sales of OTC cold & flu medicines (at present, all non-prescription medicines can only be sold by mail order if specifically approved by a doctor). As well as owning Germany’s best-known pharmacy brand, DocMorris, Zur Rose is also active in France and Spain, and could be at the forefront of overcoming strict regulations governing the sale of OTC-registered medicines in those markets too.

For an in-depth look at the rising power of e-Commerce in the CHC market, order a copy of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce: Tapping the Potential of Online Sales and Digital Promotion in Consumer HealthcareThis report also explores social media, which CHC brands are employing effective digital marketing strategies, and the opportunities and challenges e-Pharma faces. For further details, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Covid-19: France advises against ibuprofen to treat symptoms

CHCINACTION

France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran delivered a message via his Twitter account over the weekend, advising against taking anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen, cortisone, etc) to treat Covid-19 symptoms, as they could be an aggravating factor for the infection. His advice for those with a fever was to take paracetamol instead. Patients already on anti-inflammatory drugs for other illnesses, or anyone with any questions, are advised to seek advice from their doctor.

Public health interventions like this, with directives specifically citing which OTC medicines to take or not take, are rare and so the story was picked up by major news outlets in the UK (Guardian), USA (New York Times) and elsewhere. According to a report in The Local, Véran’s tweet prompted several members of the public to ask for the source of his reasoning on not taking ibuprofen to treat Covid-19 symptoms. The main concern appears to be that anti-inflammatories have an “immunosuppressive effect“, plus the background in France is that medicines agency ANSM has already removed medicines containing paracetamol, ibuprofen and / or aspirin from the self-selection list in January 2020 to reinforce the advisory role of the pharmacist and guarantee safe use.

81eQ4AfKNML._AC_SL1500_.jpg

Meanwhile, the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on sales and availability of painkillers in other markets is already becoming evident, with UK retailer Boots imposing a limit of two items per customer on cough & cold and pain medicines and US marketer J&J reporting a spike in demand for its Tylenol range and other self-care products. In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, and India’s decision last week to restrict the export of some ingredients (including paracetamol), there have been fears of shortages and disruptions to supply chains, but J&J said it did not anticipate a shortage of Tylenol and that it was taking all possible measures to maximise availability of its consumer healthcare range.

The good news is that we have extended the campaign entry criteria and deadline for our 2020 Marketing Awards! Coinciding with the new event dates, the Awards will now be presented on 30 September during our 31st European Conference in Athens on 29 September–1 October 2020. If you’re proud of your latest campaign or brand, ensure that you enter before the new deadline of 14 August! For more information on entry criteria, contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com without delay.

Assessing Covid-19’s impact on the events and CHC industry

CHCINACTION

Seven weeks after we first covered the news of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in China in this blog, it is now very clear that the rapid spread of Covid-19 is having an increasing impact on economies, industries and businesses worldwide. Workers in many countries are being urged to self-isolate if they experience symptoms, while pharma players, including Mylan, which reported FY 2019 results last week, see a potential impact on their finances. Companies such as Sanofi, GSK, Nestle and L’Oreal are either telling employees to avoid business travel or postpone trips.

Airline shares are in freefall and the global events industry is being hit particularly hard, with organisers cancelling or postponing numerous conferences and trade exhibitions; New Hope Network (Informa) posted the following on its website: “The many conversations, emails, text messages and social media posts that [we have] engaged with since we communicated the hard decision to postpone 2020 Natural Products Expo West due to the Covid-19 situation tell us that many in the natural & organic products community seem to be breathing a sigh of relief.” However, it will not be alone in asking: “What’s next?”

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 15.22.20.png

Nicholas Hall Writes: We have taken the painful decision to postpone our flagship Athens meeting from late April to 29th September-1st October. For delegates who roll over their bookings, and for new delegates, we are offering a live-streamed Global Trends presentation / Q&A based on the latest DB6 data at 10:00 CET on 29th April, which under happier circumstances would have been the start of the Athens conference. Full details of this and the postponed conference dates will be circulated soon. I look forward to e-meeting many of you on 29th April and greeting you in person in Athens in September, by which time we hope to be cleared by the Chief Medical Officer to start the meeting in the traditional Nicholas Hall Family way with handshakes all round. I’m truly looking forward to “business as usual”.

Our new Hot Topic report puts the Covid-19 pandemic in context. My colleague Nina Monk tells me that the coronavirus outbreak is currently in a containment phase, although it is likely that individual countries will shortly begin implementing mitigation / treatment programmes as person-to-person transmission within infected communities increases. This will affect where people go to seek treatment (hospital vs pharmacy) and what treatment is given (Rx vs OTC). The impact on the CHC market is already becoming apparent with sales of antiseptics & disinfectants, antibacterial hand gels, face masks, immune-boosting supplements and OTC antivirals all seeing significant spikes in sales.

Unlike SARS, which was more severe but relatively short-lived, Covid-19 is likely to drag on into the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, when the warmer weather may lessen its virulence. The likely impact on the global CHC market is hard to judge, but in China sales at point-of-sale could be down by the equivalent of one full trading month this year. e-Commerce will benefit, although there will be disruption of all stages of the supply chain. 

Examine the potential impact of coronavirus on our industry in a Hot Topic review from our CIMA division, which is published today. To purchase your copy of Coronavirus 2020 and its Potential Impact on CHC, or for more information, please contact the CIMA General Manager, nina.monk@NicholasHall.com.