Hologic Survey: Women’s Health Worsened in 2021

The 2021 Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, a survey of almost 127,000 women and men in 122 countries, shows that health situations for women did not improve in the second year of the pandemic and many worsened. Hologic launched the survey in 2020 in partnership with Gallup to assess how female health & wellbeing needs were being met.

Preventive care, which is still inaccessible to many women, remains the weakest of all health dimensions: some 60% of women in 2021 (equating to a population greater than 1.5bn) reported that they were not tested for four of the most frequent, fast-growing, and / or deadly conditions globally: just 12% of women were tested for any type of cancer, 34% for high blood pressure, 19% for diabetes and 11% for STDs / STIs. Emotional health is also a key dimension, with a growing body of evidence that it can affect cardiovascular health and other physical health risk factors.

Source: Hologic Global Women’s Health Index report

Nicholas Hall Writes: It’s a sad fact that women were more stressed, worried, angry and sad in 2021 than at any other point in the past decade, according to this insightful survey, with 43% of the sample claiming to have experienced worry and 41% stress during much of the day before the survey was conducted.

The Hologic Chairman, Stephen MacMillan, commented: “No matter what pandemics, wars or other crises roil our societies, we must commit ourselves to improving the health of women, because they form the backbone of our families, communities and societies.” That is so true! Yet looking through the narrower lens of consumer health, we offer very few specialist products for women beyond feminine intimate health.

Log on to hear from Nicholas and experts from Bayer, Havas Health and more at our Asia-Pacific e-Conference on 23 November! You can expect insights into sustainability, the Go-To-Market model and self-care collaborations. This online event will also include the presentation of our Regional CHC Creative Marketing Award. For more information, or to register, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Consumer focus shifts from physical to mental health

The pandemic has intensified a rise in depression, anxiety and distress and, while immunity remains a key focus, there has been a shift in the past two years from physical to mental health. This is according to GameChanger 2022, a report published by brand-building agency Healthy Marketing Team. Increasingly aware of the role of good mental balance for the body’s response to any health threat and the role played by the microbiome, consumers are moving away from the single hero ingredient for immunity to a more holistic approach that also includes stress relieving and mood boosting components. HMT founder Peter Wennström writes: “You must understand how to connect to today’s consumers not only with physical benefits and rational claims but also with emotional benefits … The value chain starts in the mind of the consumer — more so now than ever before.”

Comment from CHC.Newsflash Deputy Editor, Kirsten McEwan: The after-effects of pandemic-related lockdowns, worries and upheavals to our lives have become ever apparent and the rise in mental health issues is perhaps unsurprising. A study published in The BMJ (16th February 2022) highlights a further cause for concern about mental wellbeing in the post-Covid era. Researchers from the VA St Louis Healthcare System analysed data from the US Dept of Veterans Affairs database for 153,848 people who tested positive for Covid-19 between March 2020-January 2021; the data was matched to that from 5.6mn+ people without Covid and 5.8mn+ people pre-pandemic. Those with Covid had a 60% increased risk of a mental health diagnosis or prescription in the year following infection vs controls. Covid infection was associated with sleep disorders, depressive disorders, neurocognitive decline and substance use disorders. The researchers point out that the study included mostly older white men and the findings may not apply to other groups, but marketers may want to take note of this more specific target market.

Sedatives & sleep aids was one of the Top 5 most active CHC subcategories for new product development in 2021. Source: CHC New Products Tracker.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: Mental health has been a growth sector of the global CHC market for at least 5 years. Sleep aids & sedatives have accumulated sales of about US$3bn, with a 7% CAGR since 2016, but growth accelerated even faster during the pandemic to 13%. More dynamic still was herbal memory & brain health, which most recently grew by 18% to US$1bn, with a 5-year CAGR of 10%.

Consumer demand is strong for all the reasons outlined in this week’s lead story and in my colleague Kirsten McEwan’s commentary. Yet I sense that many of the brands sold in the sector are deficient in some way – either a lack of excitement, weak claims or the formulations are old and with little scientific support. Prevagen from Quincy Bioscience is a standout in memory & brain health, but its clinical studies have been roundly contested by the authorities. Quincy always fights back, seems to win these arguments, continues to have very high growth and is looking to take a better than one-third global market share even though it is sold only in the USA.

Sleep aids & sedatives are much more fragmented and, although it is growing well, brand leader ZzzQuil (P&G) takes only a 6% global market share. It seems to me that the leading players in this sector, and new entrants, need to redefine their positioning and claims, and invest in more product development and clinical trials, if they are to take full advantage of abundant unmet consumer demand.

Put your brands into the spotlight at The Nicholas Hall CHC Marketing Awards 2022, which will take place during our 32nd European CHC Conference & Action Workshop. Entry submission is open until 1 April! For more information about entry criteria, or more details about the meeting, which will take place on 4-6 May 2022 in Athens, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

NielsenIQ’s “Global Consumer Outlook”: Agility crucial in 2022

The pandemic may be entering its third year, but there are signs that governments are gearing up to living with Covid-19. NielsenIQ’s 2022 Global Consumer Outlook delves into consumer sentiment and spending, revealing how people will shop in the year ahead. With employment disruptions, supply chain breakdowns and varying recovery scenarios, the trends setting the tone for consumer behaviour in 2022 include:

  • Consumers will move towards an endemic mindset 
  • Virus variants will fuel different recovery trajectories
  • Inflation concerns will take a toll on consumers; prepare for continued global consumer spending constraints
  • New-found consumer priorities born out of the pandemic will not be compromised. Consumer prioritisation of health, wellbeing & financial security will take centre stage 
Source: NielsenIQ
  • Consumer spending intentions reflect a continued homebody lifestyle with cautious approaches intensified by inflationary pressures. Leisure & entertainment will continue to take a backseat against an ongoing Covid backdrop
  • Necessity will be a driving force. Consumers will bring added scrutiny on expenses that fall beyond priorities & necessities

For the full Outlook, click here.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: The NielsenIQ 2022 edition of “Global Consumer Outlook” is timely as we start to think again about a possible end of the pandemic. The NielsenIQ team concludes: “In the year ahead, agility will be critical. Retailers and brands that consider different trajectories and recovery scenarios will be better placed to address consumers’ changing priorities, states of cautiousness and increasingly constrained wallets. They must ensure their offerings can morph and resonate with how the landscape will continue to evolve in the years to come.”

One of the trends that we have observed in the USA, but not in other regions to the same extent, is a prioritisation of healthcare spend by consumers on products with tangible benefits. So for the first time in some years, we’ve seen more of the growth categories focusing on treatment than prevention. Is this a blip or the start of a longer-term trend? It’s too soon to tell!

An added complication is the weakness of the global economy and the predicted rise of inflation, which are putting more pressure on consumers, who in general will have to prioritise their shopping even more than in the past. So which consumer health products will they purchase in what may be a slimmed-down overall shopping basket? And a further knock-on effect may be a reduced interest in supporting sustainable products. The survey reported in our third lead story (below) is encouraging, but the practicality might be that consumers with less disposable income then before may not be able to prioritise these products, even though this remains their ideal.

These and many other issues are in the front of our minds at the moment as we begin to scope the 4th edition of our New Paradigms report (subtitled “A Return to the New Normal”) later in 2022.

Global dementia cases set to triple

The number of people aged 40+ years with dementia could nearly triple worldwide from 57mn in 2019 to 153mn by 2050. This is according to a study of 195 countries funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published in The Lancet Public Health on 6th January 2022. The projected increase is largely owing to the ageing population and population growth.

However, the study also looks at four risk factors – smoking, obesity, high blood sugar and low education – and highlights their impact on future trends. While improvements in global education access are projected to reduce dementia prevalence by 6.2mn cases by 2050, this will be offset by anticipated trends in obesity, high blood sugar and smoking, which are expected to result in an additional 6.8mn cases.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This study was conducted by the University of Washington, and to quote the lead author, Emma Nichols: “We need to focus more on prevention and control of risk factors before they result in dementia. Even modest advances in preventing dementia or delaying its progression would pay remarkable dividends. To have the greatest impact, we need to reduce exposure to the leading risk factors. For most, this means scaling up locally-appropriate, low-cost programmes that support healthier diets, more exercise, quitting smoking and better access to education.”

Is there a role for consumer healthcare here? I believe there is! Not least, it is noticeable that herbal products sold for memory & brain health have been growing consistently during the past five years, with a spike in demand in 2020. Taking all channels of distribution into account, this category is valued at over a billion dollars, with the USA accounting for about 50% of sales. In Prevagen, it has produced a mega-brand, which is why both Reckitt and P&G have entered the fray. At a time of continuing interest in M&A, it’s encouraging to see that there are a number of CHC categories delivering substantial organic growth.

Herbal memory and brain health supplements will be reviewed in our forthcoming report, Herbals & Naturals, which will track the leading H&N marketers, highlight developments, sales and success strategies. To pre-order your copy and save up to GB£2,100, or for further information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Three surveys assess Covid’s impact on our health

Three surveys published in recent weeks have gauged the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our dietary and supplement habits, our use of technology and our mental health. Here we present a quick survey of the findings in all three studies.

According to a survey of 13,000 people in 24 countries conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and Herbalife Nutrition, eight in 10 US citizens believe their health is “work in progress”. Some 89% of respondents worldwide are taking steps to improve their health, with 81% reporting that the pandemic helped to kickstart them.

Vitamins and supplements are a priority for many; when asked about how their health goals have changed, half said they are more focused on eating healthier, including supplementing their diet with vitamins & minerals, with the average respondent spending around US$286 each year. However, only 69% reported feeling knowledgeable about the health benefits and 77% would like to know more. Some 30% are most likely to get information about vitamins and supplements from internet searches, media and social media, followed by consulting with their doctor (27%).

Source: OnePoll / Herbalife / CRN

According to a survey from Saudi-based cultural institute Ithra, 91% of people globally are spending more time online because of the pandemic, and 44% are worried about the impact of internet and smartphone use on their health. Respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia appear most worried, with 74% and 56% respectively fearing the negative consequences of the internet on wellbeing vs 27% in Europe and Central Asia. Consistent with their increased use of devices, younger people are experiencing more physical symptoms than their elders, with 50% of Gen Z respondents complaining of tiredness, poor sleep and headaches.

And, finally, a study published in BJPsych Open revealed the mental health of adults aged over 50 has been significantly compromised by Covid-19. University of Surrey researchers analysed data in 5,331 participants from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Self-reported depression in June and July 2020 were compared with baseline data from 2-3 years prior. Some 26% met the criteria for clinical depression during the pandemic vs 14% in previous years. Women were found to be at a much higher risk, as well as people living alone and those with long-term health conditions. Women living in an urban environment showed a larger increase in depression symptoms than those in more rural areas. The research also found that individuals at the younger end of the 50+ population suffered more.

In just 2 weeks, you can join Nicholas and a panel of industry experts at our North American e-Conference 2021Sponsored by Catalent, you can look forward to hearing about consumer shopping behaviours, the non-prescription imperative, natural channel retail world and much more. To register, or for further details, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

CVS Study: Consumers taking better control of health

CVS Health’s just-published 2021 Health Care Insights Study, which asked 1,000 consumers and 400 providers for their thoughts on the state of healthcare and how they are navigating this evolving landscape, reveals preferences for a more personalised, customisable and accessible experience.

Even as access to health insurance coverage (55%) and location of care (43%) remain among the top factors that influence consumer healthcare decisions, more people are exploring different avenues of care, with a slight movement away from primary care providers (PCPs) to other healthcare resources. Routine care from PCPs has dropped since last year (56% vs 62%), while the use of online resources (19% vs 12%), community health centres (19% vs 15%) and local pharmacies (17% vs 11%) have grown in preference.

Other findings include:

  • 77% said the pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their health in general, while 50% indicated previous stay-at-home orders helped them achieve their health goals
  • In addition to increased substance use, feelings of stress have been pervasive, especially for men, who reported slightly higher levels of stress vs female respondents over the significant shifts that took place during quarantine
  • Young adults (18-34 years) were most impacted by the pandemic and the most likely age group to report depression (35%) and a higher rate of mental illness (28%) vs total respondents (23%)

Comment from CVS Health President & CEO, Karen Lynch: Over the past year-and-a-half, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer healthcare preferences and needs. These shifts towards personalised care have the potential to impact our healthcare system well past the pandemic, with many people taking a more engaged approach to their own health. Going forward, we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and continue to foster an integrated health model that is centred around the needs of the individual.

Will consumer interest in boosting immunity outlast Covid? Is the shift to prevention products sustainable? These important questions will be explored in our forthcoming hot topic report focusing on Immunity. A number of categories including antivirals, immune supplements and vitamins C & D will be featured, alongside the latest launch activity and much more. To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or to find out more, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com.

CCA down, but mental wellness products boom

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.

Four notable 2020 sleep device launches from our Innovation in CHC report:
Withings Analyzer (Europe), SleepCheck (Australia), Sunrise (UK) and CoolDrift Versa (USA)

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).

Only two weeks to go until our European e-Conference 2021! Register now to explore e-Commerce and other major trends impacting CHC on 28-29 April with Nicholas Hall and a panel of industry experts.
For a look at the full agenda, please click here
To book your place at our European e-Conference, or to find out more about our other webinars, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@NicholasHall.com 

Smartphone app may help older adults manage serious mental illness and chronic health conditions

OTCINACTION

The use of new technologies in geriatric psychiatry shows promise for advancing personalised medicine and improving patient care. A new study in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry describes the successful adaptation of an integrated medical and psychiatric self-management intervention to a smartphone application for middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illness.

Care of middle-aged and older patients with serious mental illness can be difficult. Often these patients suffer from other medical conditions and are at increased risk of premature death. In order to help patients cope with their illness, researchers from Dartmouth developed a smartphone-based intervention using adaptive systems engineering framework and principles of user-centred design.BJHC_elderlylady_mobile_mini_0_8

“The use of mobile health interventions by adults with serious mental illness is a promising approach that has been shown to be highly feasible and acceptable,” explained lead investigator Karen L. Fortuna, PhD, of the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

They found that even patients with limited technical abilities could use this app successfully. The app and intervention protocol were developed using commercially available products from Wellframe.

Following multiple design iterations, investigators tested the app’s usability and found Ten participants with serious mental illness and other chronic health conditions reported a high level of usability and satisfaction with the smartphone application.

The app takes patients through 10 sessions over a period of around three months, covering topics such as stress vulnerability and illness, medication adherence and strategies, and substance and medication abuse. Physicians can remotely monitor app use, and intervene when problems are detected, facilitating telemedicine for less accessible populations.

This study is part of a special issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that captures an important moment in the evolving relationship between technology and the clinical care of