Focus on China: Trade agreement with USA imminent?

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Some welcome news for the global economy which broke over the weekend, as announced by the US trade representative, is that the US and China are “close to finalising some sections” of an interim agreement to ease trade tensions between the two countries. This is also a welcome development for OTC marketers, including RB, whose newly-appointed CEO Laxman Narasimhan recently stated that the company’s disappointing Q3 performance was primarily due to issues in USA and China.

Growth in China’s OTC market slowed to 5.3% in the MAT Q2 2019 period, owing to a low key cough & cold season and a weakening economy. Nicholas Hall was a speaker at the Global Self-Care Federation (GCSF) conference – a joint meeting of the Chinese, Asian and global CHC associations, held in Beijing last week – and wrote: “It is always valuable to come to the second-largest CHC market, which in just a few years will be the world’s biggest economy. There are major opportunities here, but increasing challenges too as the Government takes a tougher line on pricing and distribution, without easing the regulatory barriers.”

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Judy Stenmark kicked off proceedings at the GSCF 2019 conference

Nicholas Hall also wrote that: “Among the many presentations during the 2 days, some of which lasted for as little as 15 minutes – this was truly a conveyor belt conference, with only one panel discussion and no questions from the floor – a presentation that stood out for me was from Conba, a company about which I knew very little. Hu Jiqiang, Chairman of Conba Group, made the startling claim that Conba will become the biggest producer of medical cannabis in China and possibly the world … And, of course, the presentation by Alibaba Health was one to sit up and listen to at the end of an exhausting two days. This really is a game-changing company as I discuss in my New Paradigms report.

The rise of Chinese marketers within the global OTC rankings has been a notable trend in 2019. Our latest MAT Q2 2019 data shows that China Resources 999 now takes 9th position globally, and grew by 7.3% in the year to end-June 2019. Additionally, as explored in one of our recent blog posts, By-Health has broken into the global Top 20 and now claims 15th spot. This company has bucked the trend of decelerating growth in China, with sales growing by 31% in MAT Q2 2019. China accounts for over 90% of By-Health’s OTC portfolio turnover, with Australia accounting for the remainder.

Some of the latest innovations and technologies impacting CHC will be at the forefront of the agenda at next month’s OTC.NewDirections Executive Conference, which will take place in London on 14 November, with speakers from key players including Mundipharma, J&J and Bayer. Please contact jennifer.odonnell@NicholasHall.com to book your place or find out more. If you are unable to join us, you can always view Nicholas’ opening address live at 09:05 GMT here

PPoC initiatives key to future CHC growth

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For the final instalment in our series of blogs on Nicholas Hall’s Infinity Zones for future CHC growth, we turn to the topic of Pharmacy Point-of-Care (PPoC). As our recent blog on e-commerce indicated, internet & mail order sales of OTCs are growing fast but store-based sales still account for 78% of the global OTC market. In an increasing number of markets, PPoC initiatives are providing new, speedy and effective alternatives for consumers unable or unwilling to wait for a GP appointment. Below is a summary of some PPoC initiatives in recent years from all four corners of the globe.

In February 2019, PTS Diagnostics and Kroger Health, which operates 2,100+ pharmacies and clinics in the USA, announced the full rollout of CardioChek Plus analysers for point-of-care blood testing to help identify individuals at risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The CardioChek Plus system accurately tests lipid profile and glucose simultaneously with one fingerstick, enabling a more seamless process for the customer. It measures total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose, providing on-site results in as little as 90 seconds.

In Vietnam, Chris Blank and his team at Pharmacity have the ambition to reach 1,000 stores in just 1,000 days. But, as Nicholas Hall said, it’s more than just store openings that is propelling Pharmacity to national dominance – it has carefully figured out the offline and online needs of its customers and is working hard to build traffic in each store, so the proposition is for vertical as well as horizontal growth. Ultimately, Pharmacity will succeed by delivering holistic PPoC solutions to the unmet health needs of its customers.

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Turning to Europe, LloydsPharmacy (Celesio / McKesson) started offering sore throat tests for people aged 18+ years in 600 stores across England, Scotland and Wales in November 2018. Pharmacists ask questions and examine the throat to determine the possible cause of pain. If necessary, they will take a swab test to check for infection. If the results are negative for Streptococcus A, the pharmacist is able to offer advice, as well as a range of OTC treatments.

As for Latin America, Brazil’s ANVISA approved a resolution in late 2017 that allows any health establishment nationally, including pharmacies and drugstores, to administer vaccinations, providing that they meet certain requirements. This follows a number of local legislation changes permitting pharmacies to offer a greater number of services – among them, the application of vaccines, health monitoring with point-of-care testing and self-test equipment – in the states of Sao Paulo, Amazonas, Para, the Federal District and the city of Sao Paulo in November-December 2017.

Don’t miss out on your final chance to benefit from our pre-publication discount when you pre-order Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Analyse each aspect of the CHC industry, with a focus on crucial issues including Healthcare trends, Innovation, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil all the “infinity zones” he has identified as being paramount to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Food intolerance category shows huge promise

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For the next instalment in our series of blogs on Nicholas Hall’s Infinity Zones for future CHC growth, we take a closer look at the growing issue of food intolerance, driven by unhealthy eating and the rise of processed food with additives, as well as changing diets across the world. Currently a driver of GIs growth, food intolerance has the potential to break out and become its own OTC category, and Nicholas Hall is urging CHC companies to seize this huge opportunity in the face of any future competition that might come from mainstream food companies, as was the case with functional foods.

A 2016 Nielsen study showed a high prevalence of food intolerance across various regions – the percentage of those who say someone in their household has food intolerances / allergies was 22% in Europe, 31% in North America, 34% in Latin America and 42% in Asia-Pacific, with children more likely to suffer than adults. Food intolerances (lactose, cruciferous vegetables, gluten, fructose, etc) can cause a variety of challenging symptoms for those affected, and new product development is catering for this fast-growing market.

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Lactose intolerance is the most established niche, with lactase supplements (an enzyme that helps digest lactose) generating sales of roughly $65mn in 2018. Lactase supplements are fairly well-established in North America and Europe, with J&J’s Lactaid a key brand in the USA, while Latin America – especially Brazil – remains a current hotbed of innovation. Other intolerances are also increasingly being catered for with new products such as GluteoStop (Ineo Pharma) in Germany / Switzerland and Glutenam (Named) in Italy for glucose intolerance, and Fructaid (Pro Natura) in Germany for fructose intolerance.

Marketers of diagnostics and probiotics have also recognised the potential of this category. Lykon has launched MyNutrition 100 in Germany and UK (retailing for between $110-125), an at-home kit positioned to test for food intolerance across the 100 most common foods, while Montefarmaco extended probiotic brand Lactoflorene in Italy in 2019 with Lactoflorene Digest, claimed to promote the balance of intestinal flora that can be compromised by digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance will be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil in more detail the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

eCommerce expansion led by Amazon limits store-based growth

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Continuing our series of blogs on the 10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth outlined by Nicholas Hall, in this edition we take a closer look at eCommerce, following the news that Amazon has become the world’s most valuable brand, according to the 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released by WPP and Kantar.

Commenting on the latest DB6 MAT Q1 2019 figures, which show that global bricks & mortar OTC growth decelerated to 3.7%, Nicholas Hall said that “Amazon goes from strength to strength, and takes a 75-90% share of all eCommerce sales of CHC products, depending on whom you listen to. These are the glory days for the so-called GAFAA companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba), but will it last?

Top 10 country MAT Q1 2019

The rise of eCommerce is one of the factors causing the slowdown in store-based OTC sales, which now total US$136.7bn. According to Celine Waller, VP, DB6, store-based sales account for 78% of the global OTC market, with direct sales generating 14%. Internet & mail order currently accounts for 9% of the “all channel” universe, with sales dominated heavily by VMS supplements in China and USA.

However, this channel has seen a CAGR of 20% since 2014 and will continue to increase dramatically in importance over the next decade. In China, Alibaba continues to prosper from the Chinese government’s attempts to promote eCommerce and regulate the so-called suitcase trade (daigou), while Amazon remains supreme in the US market.

To help keep our clients abreast of these changes, this year we have introduced an “all channels” version of the DB6 dataset, which reports on topline sales of direct sales (MLM), Internet & mail order plus key brands in selected leading markets. eCommerce will also be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Prevention better (and growing faster) than cure

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For many years now, Nicholas Hall has been highlighting how OTC subcategories focused on prevention are growing faster than those directed towards treatment or intervention. This long-term trend in the CHC industry continues to take root, thanks to the growing power of categories like probiotics (another Infinity Zone, covered in last week’s blog).

At this year’s Vienna conference, Nicholas Hall presented a slide of the fastest-growing OTC subcategories by CAGR (2014-18), comparing those focused on prevention with those centred around treatment, and this showed that seven of the Top 10 most dynamic subcategories in recent years had a preventive focus. Sexual health is a relatively new driver of this trend, with two subcategories in the Top 5 – erectile dysfunction and emergency hormonal contraception.

Top 10 prevention

Vitamins, minerals & supplements have long been the main driver of this prevention trend, with probiotics and vitamin D the two key subcategories. Innovation and niche product positioning (i.e. to prevent allergies, candidiasis, age-related illnesses, etc) have helped fuel probiotics growth, while the dynamism of vitamin D sales has been driven by rising awareness of the high levels of deficiency in many markets and the benefits  of supplementation.

Herbal memory & brain health is an increasingly attractive subcategory, as exemplified by RB’s recent launch of Neuriva, a new product designed to support “brain fitness” and prevent cognitive decline. Royal jelly is taken widely in Europe and Asia-Pacific as a way to prevent fatigue, while just outside the Top 10 in CAGR terms are magnesium, zinc, pregnancy vitamins and hair & beauty supplements. According to OTC New Products Tracker, the latter was the fifth most active OTC subcategory in 2018 in terms of launch activity, with 150 innovations.

Last chance to pre-order Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

Probiotics the main CHC growth driver in Europe

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As part of our series of blogs on the 10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth outlined by Nicholas Hall, this week we take a closer look at the fast-growing probiotics category. As Nicholas mentioned in his keynote speech at this year’s Vienna conference, probiotics is a category that has moved from adjacency to mainstream, producing more value growth in Europe in the past 5 years (additional US$364mn in sales) than any other OTC category.

In 2018, global sales of probiotics totalled US$4.2bn, representing 10.8% growth. This was a slightly better performance than the previous year (sales of probiotics were up 10.4% in 2017) but still marks a deceleration compared to the recent peak in 2016 of 13.6% growth. Looking at global product innovation trends, thanks to our OTC New Products Tracker tool covering 20 key markets, there are also indications that probiotics expansion may have hit a temporary plateau, with roughly the same number of innovations in this category in 2017 (277) and 2018 (270).

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However, the appearance of new probiotics niches looks set to energise further growth and innovation going forward. As highlighted in our recently published Lower GIs report, the development of probiotics with novel positioning (IBS, hangover, etc) and for specific life stages (infancy, pregnancy, etc) are expanding the category’s appeal even further. Recent examples of new probiotics for kids include Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Daily Probiotic Drops (J&J) and Biocodex’s launch of Florastor Baby.

Personalisation will also be an important future growth driver for probiotics. Despite the increasing number of proprietary bacterial strains, the probiotics category is still largely characterised by a one-size-fits-all approach. As scientific understanding of the microbiome advances, however, we may soon reach a stage where tailored probiotic strains are recommended for people with specific host microbiomes or diets. This sort of precision therapy could also eventually see a growing number of probiotics regulated as medicines rather than dietary supplements.

How is regulation of consumer healthcare products set to evolve in future? Find out in the chapter dedicated to regulation in Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself. Other chapters will look at issues surrounding the CHC market including digital engagement, M&A, healthcare trends and much more! You also have the option to upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.