Global CHC market sales in bricks & mortar outlets totalled US$150bn in 2020, with growth decelerating to 3.3%. Categories that were hardest hit by the slowdown were concentrated among CCA (notably cough and sore throat remedies) and Dermatologicals (such as lip care, cold sore and head lice treatments), as a result of social distancing guidelines. However, there were some notable sales successes in 2020, including sedatives & sleep aids and herbal memory & brain health supplements.
As we wrote in the latest issue of CHC.NewDirections: “Sleep quality has deteriorated as the Covid-19 pandemic has progressed, according to the ongoing University College London Covid-19 Social Study. Of the more than 70,000 participants, 12.7% reported “very good” sleep quality in March 2020 vs only 7.7% in March 2021. The number of people who said their sleep quality was “very poor” increased from 5.4% (Autumn 2020) to 10.1% at the start of the New Year.”
CIMA Market Analyst, Sacha Hawker, notes that this increase in sleep disturbance has been accompanied by a rise in sleep-related apps and devices in recent years, creating even more crossover between technology and consumer healthcare. And globally, there have been more than 160 new products with a mental wellness positioning since the pandemic began in December 2019 (Source: Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker). With lockdown measures still in place alongside other stress factors, we expect this trend to continue.
Commenting on the DB6 results, Nicholas Hall said: So there it is! Finally, the 2020 growth rate was somewhat lower than expected at 5% (all channels of distribution), more or less in line with the five years before the Covid outbreak. But within the market there has been radical change, and the stable overall growth rate cannot disguise the weakness of the cough & cold market – much worse than expected – and indeed of the whole retail sector. At the moment we are working on the short-term and long-term forecasts for the new edition of DB6, and there are puzzled frowns and long faces among the forecasting team.
So where do we look for rays of sunshine? As my colleague Celine Waller writes, anything connected with immunity and disinfection and e-Commerce is having a fine time, and the expectation is that this boom will carry over for two or three more years. And she points to sedatives & sleep aids among the rock stars with a 13% growth rate. This ties in perfectly with earlier predictions made during a webinar given by Jennifer Cooper and I a month ago. If you haven’t listened to the recording of that webinar, I strongly advise you to do so (link here).
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