OTCs in Action Episode 24: Worldwide sales up 4%

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Nicholas Hall & Company has now published its global OTC sales database, DB6, and it was heartening to see that self-medication drove overall market growth of about 4% to $119bn in 2014. OTC sales in the US account for 25% of worldwide turnover, but growth there was only 2.7% in the past year.

So where are OTCs in Action? China, the second largest market with an 18% share, grew by 7%, while in Brazil OTCs grew by 11% to claim a 3% worldwide share. Close competitor, Russia, also took a 3% share with growth of 9%. That said, Brazil and Russia’s rate of growth has slowed considerably in the past year. The last BRICs market, India, saw sales increase by 8%, a bit slower than at its peak a few years ago as well. The Indian OTC market captures only a 2% share of the global OTC pie at the moment, but will become an increasingly important market as its economy develops.

In contrast, OTCs were not in Action in Japan and France, which have seen declining sales for several years, although they did level out with only slight drops in 2014 to claim a 6% share and 3.5% share of the world market, respectively.

Gastrointestinals were the star performers on the global stage last year, with a sales increase of 5.2%, to account for 12% of the market. Analgesics, another very mature category, grew by 4.9% for a 13% share. Skin care products turned in the next best performance with sales growth of 4.4% and a 14% share, while Lifestyle OTCs grew by 4.2% for a 9% share. Cough, cold & allergy products slowed to 3.7% growth to take a 20% share of the market, while the largest market, VMS, was weak with growth of 3.2% to take a 30% share.

Around the world, healthcare is shifting from clinics to kitchen counters as people take control of their therapeutic and wellness regimens at home. OTCs are the most effective and safest way to empower people to self-medicate and, at the same time, reduce government healthcare spending.

OTC In Action Episode 3: Skin care, lifestyle sales trends reflect consumer needs

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This week, Nicholas Hall’s Global OTC database DB6 mid-year update shows that the global OTC market growth slowed to 3.8% in the 12 months to June 2014. Beyond the glum headlines, however, the mid-year report also identifies therapeutic subcategories that have posted healthy growth rates. OTCs are in action to offer consumers self care for real-life problems. For example, sales of general antifungals and eczema / psoriasis treatments increased by about 7%, helping the $18bn dermatologicals category record growth of almost 5%.

A similar growth rate was achieved in the $11.7bn Lifestyle OTCs category, with sales of emergency hormonal contraceptives and urinary products increasing by 8% and 7% respectively. In both cases, Rx-to-OTC switch has opened up consumer access to new treatments. The eye care and sleep aids & sedatives subcategories also increased by more than 6%, helping consumers treat life-disrupting conditions.
On a final note, the weak 2% growth for the $26.5mn global cough, cold & allergy category can be viewed as a blessing for flu sufferers, but it was inevitable that turnover would stabilise after the double-digit growth in the previous reporting period, especially in North America.

Overall, the gap between North America and E&SE Asia continues to close, with rapid growth in China and Indonesia driven by an emerging middle class. Meanwhile, OTC sales in Western Europe and Japan continue to generate low growth, as governments seek to trim healthcare budgets and economic growth remains slow.