H&B REPORT: WOMEN’S HEALTH A TOP WELLNESS TREND IN 2023

According to Holland & Barrett’s (LetterOne) Wellness Trends Report 2023, areas of particular interest to consumers this year will include:

  • Women’s wellness – a big business in 2022 – will ramp up even further, with personalised solutions and FemTech founders continuing to help lead the revolution on breaking down taboos around menopause, menstrual health, fertility and more
  • Wellness tech gets personal. From patches tracking dietary biomarkers to carbon levels in the breath determining metabolic function, the future is all about using health data for optimum health. Health tech innovation is also becoming more focused on key target groups, such as those suffering from, or at risk of, chronic conditions
  • Sleep As well as vitamin D and magnesium, newly-trending ingredients include glycine, spearmint and plant polyphenols, EGCG and l-theanine. Meanwhile, consumers are keeping orthosomnia — the worry about getting enough sleep — at bay with remedies containing lavender, chamomile and CBD. There will also be an increase in smart tech to synchronise circadian routines
  • Ayurveda Ayurvedic remedies such as ashwagandha and curcumin, combined with scientific scrutiny, are experiencing a rise in popularity 
  • Beauty from within Collagen’s status as a skin-smoothing beauty superhero is here to stay, but people are also starting to understand the broader benefits, and younger customers are using type 2 collagen supplements to keep their joints in optimal health
To read the full report, click here

Nicholas Hall Writes: Last Wednesday we held the NHC Start of the Year Meeting at our Southend-on-Sea HQ. What a pleasure after three years to have 35 team members in the room and most of the rest of our global team dialing-in. One of our main objectives was to brainstorm a new Strategic Narrative for the CHC industry, which will drive our Global Trends roadshow after the new DB6 data is published in early April. And, of course, the Strategic Narrative will be at the heart of New Paradigms for CHC 2023, which we have just scoped and which will be published in July. As usual I will write almost every word of this completely revised 4th edition, supported by what I truly believe to be the biggest and best market analysis and creative solutions team in the CHC industry – 54 out of our total headcount of 65 plus numerous network partners, associates and freelancers.

And many of the overarching issues to be discussed in New Paradigms are illustrated in the latest edition of CHC.Newsflash: women’s health, MedTech and FemTech, lifestyle products, natural remedies, sustainability and China (reviewed at a time when Dr Nouriel Roubini warns us in his latest book, Megathreats, of the dangers of deglobalisation). And even before we publish the new report, I hope to meet as many of you as possible at our April conference in London, when we will give you a sneak peek of the new Strategic Narrative.

I will be joined on stage in London by speakers from PAGB, Haleon and Perrigo, plus other industry experts, for our 33rd European CHC Conference 19-21 April. Exploring The Future Resumed, you can review the full agenda or explore group booking options by contacting elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

CRN Survey: Branded ingredients favoured by VMS consumers

The Council for Responsible Nutrition has revealed initial findings from its 2022 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. The survey was conducted online in August 2022 among 3,133 US adults aged 18+ years, including 2,342 who report consuming dietary supplements seasonally, occasionally or regularly.

Liz Cummings, our Regional VP North America, reports from CRN’s Now New Next conference: 

US dietary supplement use has reverted to the pre-pandemic level of 75%, with multivitamins remaining the favourite among users. A wealth of regulation, science, economic and consumer insights was unveiled over the 3-day conference, which will be shared in future NHC publications. However, with CHC Newsflash highlighting the dynamic activity related to ingredients suppliers such as DSM, Kerry and ChromaDex, we thought it was timely to share the following results from the CRN survey: 

  • 71% of supplement users agree that they “find more confidence using supplements made with branded ingredients”
  • 62% perceived that supplements with branded ingredients cost more because they are more effective and better quality, and men were more likely to say that branded ingredients work better
  • 61% are willing to pay higher prices for branded ingredients. Adults aged under 55 years are willing to pay more for branded ingredients
Source: CRN / Ipsos

Nicholas Hall Writes: It seems we are awash with consumer research that confirms the importance of self-care, especially with regards to immunity, even though demand is returning to pre-pandemic levels. In many respects, consumers seem ahead of marketers (let alone regulators) in how they respond to the mega-trends of the day: the pandemics, economic pressures and the energy crisis.

As I wrote last week: “I see a paradox in matching this consumer U&A data with the relative failure of specific immunity products such as antiviral nasal sprays … So why is it that consumers who fear Covid-19, and who subscribe to the concept of immunity, are content to rely on, say, a multivitamin the category grew by 13.5% globally in Year 1 of the pandemic — and not divert to specialist products? I am still searching for an answer.” Another paradox is that, while the top CHC players are reporting excellent sales and the global sales data for the 12 months to June 2022 which we reported in late September is at a record high, retailers and e-Commerce platforms are reporting reduced traffic. And there are signs that many consumers are trading down to smaller packs or cheaper generics and private labels, which you would expect in a recession.

One of the joys of working in consumer health is its resilience. It truly is a “must have” category, but it is in the detail where we will make or lose our reputations. It seems that we must switch focus from macro-trends to the micro and to understand better what makes everything tick rather than the size of the clock. So, expect more springs, wheels and cogs to be presented in the autumn and winter months ahead.

Immune health is the focus of our recent Immunity hot topic report. With profiles of key brands across categories including antivirals, vitamins, foods & beverages and probiotics for immunity, our report explores the latest trends & developments, predicting likely future scenarios. To order your copy, or for further details, contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

CHC GROWTH REMAINS STRONG, +8.2% IN MAT Q2 2022

The mid-year update from DB6 shows the global retail market advanced by 8.2% in the 12 months to end-June 2022. In terms of geographies, Europe (+11.6%) held its position as fastest-growing region globally with many key markets maintaining double-digit growth, driven by sustained significant increases in the cough, cold & allergy category (+32.6%), as well as a continued gains in analgesics (+11.1%). Largest market Germany improved moderately over MAT Q1 2022 (+10.8%), with remaining Big 5 Western European markets similarly displaying robust advances, notably Spain (+16.7%). Russia’s growth remains strong in this reporting period, driven by price rises — its conflict with Ukraine beginning formally at end-February 2022

Americas (+10.2%) was the second-fastest growing region globally; the US market slowed slightly from unprecedented MAT Q1 2022 growth to 9.2% — still growing well ahead of the global rate and advancing by over $3.3bn vs year-ago, driven by a 37%+ improvement in CCA, and notable growth in analgesics (+8.8%). In Latin America, leading market Brazil surged (+17.4%) with strong increases observed across most major categories; cough, cold & allergy (+49.9%) analgesics (+16.4%) and dermatologicals (+11.7%) being the most noteworthy.

Asia-Pacific (+4.3%) maintained its comparatively muted growth, with largest market China (+3.3%) slowing in view of continuing lockdown restrictions, as well as pharmacy sales restrictions on particular products, primarily impacting cough & cold categories and systemic analgesics. A continued positive increase for No.2 ranked Japan (+1.4%), aided by a dynamic systemic analgesic performance (+19.3%), has helped to offset the slight slowing in China; combined, these markets have a share of almost 70% of total regional sales.

Nicholas Hall Writes: As I hinted last week, MAT Q2 results for the global CHC industry went far beyond expectations. The industry held up well during the two years of the pandemic, with all-channel growth of 6.1% and 6.5% in 2020 and 2021. The assumption was that growth would start to slow and align more closely with the 5-year CAGR of 5.4%. But Q1 confounded that forecast and, looking just at the store retail sector, our combined efforts were rewarded with 9.0% growth at constant currencies. Surely that couldn’t last! Who says? As the latest results attest, growth is still buoyant at 8.2% and presumably will be a lot higher when e-Commerce is added. If only we had the data, but nobody does, although we are working very hard to bridge that gap!!

Another shock to the system is how well Europe performed, with the leading countries delivering double-digit growth, or very close to it in the case of France. Of course, it helps that cough, cold & allergy surged in the first half of 2022, but that alone does not explain the spectacular rate of growth overall, which has for example put Germany 0.6% ahead of where it was in 2019! 

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.

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.

OTC hormone replacement therapy now available in UK

Following a landmark reclassification by the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in July 2022, postmenopausal women in the UK can for the first time access a low-dose, locally applied hormone replacement therapy without a prescription. Effective 8th September 2022, leading health & beauty retailer Boots (Walgreens Boots Alliance) is offering Gina vaginal tablets (Novo Nordisk, estradiol 10mcg) OTC to women aged 50+ years who have not had a period for at least one year.

The tablets, which cost £29.99 (US$34.60) for a pack of 24 plus applicators, treat vaginal atrophy, which is experienced by around half of postmenopausal women. Symptoms include dryness, soreness, itching, burning and uncomfortable intercourse caused by oestrogen deficiency. Boots Pharmacy Director Anne Higgins described the move as “another important milestone in women’s health”.

Novo Nordisk’s new OTC brand Gina

Comment from Proprietary Association of Great Britain CEO, Michelle Riddalls: This is a huge step forward helping women to take control over their health by enabling and supporting self-care. The pandemic forced us all to rethink the way that healthcare is delivered and brought to light the central role that self-care can play in managing health issues. Our research has shown that this is what consumers want. It has also brought huge benefits to patients, healthcare providers and to taxpayers via more efficient and effective use of NHS resources.

Nicholas Hall Writes: This week I am writing very little as a mark of respect for our beloved Queen Elizabeth. I know – the show must go on! But what a show that was, running for 70 years through good times and bad, almost never putting a foot wrong despite a vastly changing world, not to mention wayward family members. I am spellbound by what the Queen stood for and achieved. But we will have dried our tears by this time next week, when it will be business as usual, even though the memories will never fade!

In just over a month’s time, you can sharpen your skills and increase your understanding of Self-Care at the CHC Training Academy workshop in Bucharest. Taking place on 26 October, the workshop will be followed by a free 1-day conference, hosted by RASCI, focusing on Health Literacy, opening with a keynote speech from Nicholas Hall. To register, or for more information on group booking rates, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com without delay.

CDC Report Shows Further Falls In US Life Expectancy

Life expectancy in USA has fallen for the second consecutive year, according to provisional data published by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. For 2021, US life expectancy at birth was 76.1 years, the lowest since 1996 and down from 77.0 years in 2020. Male (73.2 years) and female (79.1) life expectancy also declined to levels not seen since 1996.

The almost one-year decline between 2020-21 was primarily owing to increases in mortality because of Covid-19 (50% of the negative contribution), unintentional injuries, heart disease, chronic liver disease & cirrhosis and suicide. This would have been greater were it not for the offsetting effects of decreases in mortality owing to influenza & pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease and perinatal conditions.

Nicholas Hall Writes: Does falling life expectancy matter? Yes, it matters a lot, to individuals and their friends and families; and to society, especially as some of the early deaths are among members of the economically-active population who financially support both the younger and older age groups. It also matters to our industry in that it continues to change the demographics, which may present new marketing opportunities.

As is his wont, tech billionaire Elon Musk has repeated his warning of a global underpopulation crisis, most recently tweeting that “population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilisation than global warming”. Experts disagree. Demographer Joseph Chamie hit back: “He’s better off making cars … than at predicting the trajectory of the population. Yes, [in] some countries, their population is declining, but for the world, that’s just not the case.” This is backed by the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report, as we reported back when it was first published in July, which predicts that on 15th November 2022 the global population will reach 8bn and that it could grow to around 8.5bn in 2030 and 9.7bn in 2050, before peaking at around 10.4bn people during the 2080s.

Benchmark leading brands and track competitor activity across major and local players with CHC New Products Tracker. Featuring 36,000+ entries, this ultimate competitive intelligence tool allows you to create your own customised searches. Please contact david.redford@NicholasHall.com to set up a demo.

e-Commerce Update: Zur Rose, Amazon

Swiss-based Zur Rose, which posted a 0.4% rise in external revenues to CHF963.9mn (US$1bn) in local currency terms in H1 2022, declined to comment on reports that it was exploring strategic options, including a possible sale. According to Bloomberg, Europe’s leading online pharmacy is working with advisors to look at alternatives and has held talks with potential suitors including US-based private equity groups KKR and Hellman & Friedman. Zur Rose, which gets most of its revenue from Germany and Switzerland, was founded in 1993 by a group of doctors and went public in 2017. It runs online pharmacies, has a medical wholesale business in Switzerland and also operates a marketplace in southern Europe for consumer health and beauty products.

In other news, Amazon will reportedly cease offering its on-demand 24 / 7 healthcare service Amazon Care at end-2022. According to a memo sent to employees by Amazon Health Services Senior V-P Neil Lindsay, it was not the right “long-term solution” or a “complete enough offering for the large enterprise customers we have been targeting”.

Nicholas Hall Writes: e-Commerce has grown significantly in recent years, especially during the pandemic, but clearly it is not a licence to print money as many had thought. The fact that Europe’s No.1 e-pharmacy has consistently lost money is a sobering fact. Zur Rose, which owns DocMorris, could pursue other options to improve its balance sheet, and a deal isn’t expected in the near future given current valuation levels; but the company is unprofitable and the glory days of the pandemic, when its capitalisation soared, are behind us. Nevertheless, the company has more than 11mn active customers across its core European markets, and some analysts bet that Zur Rose will get a boost from the accelerated roll-out of electronic prescriptions in Germany. 

And when we look more broadly at the concept of digital health, even the behemoth Amazon doesn’t always get it right. Analysts are saying that the end of Amazon Care is just a stumble on the company’s path to taking a comprehensive position in the US$4tn US healthcare sector, and eventually the world market. But it looks as though the playbook will need to be rewritten if Amazon and its Chinese and European competitors are to meet their ambitious goals. Maybe one of these companies will buy Zur Rose!

Trevor Gore, Founder of Maestro Consulting, will discuss Opportunities with Collaboration in the Self-Care space during our Asia-Pacific e-Conference on 23 November. This will also include the presentation of our Regional CHC Creative Marketing Award. For more information, or to register, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

Watson China creates new Health Care Zones

AS Watson has launched a Health Care Zone, both online and in 1,200+ physical stores in 270 cities across China, in response to a surge in consumer interest in health and wellness brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Care Zone offers six categories of health products, including a variety of vitamin supplements, health foods, skin care products and personal care, seasonal care and healthcare offerings. The range currently has almost 1,500 items, but this will grow to 1,800 by the end of 2022. Consumers can browse the zone by theme at physical stores and shop online at MyStore (Cloud Store), where the “Flash” service delivers orders within 30 minutes.

Customers can also obtain personalised health consultation and skin care advice from professional health and beauty consultants via Enterprise WeChat. Watsons China CEO Kulvinder Birring claimed the retailer has 60mn+ members and 200mn+ users on online platforms, covering 90% of metropolitan women aged 18-45 years.  

Watson’s O+O (offline plus online) shopping experience

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints:I hope I’m wrong in my suspicion that AS Watson China is launching its new Health Care Zone omni-channel service at precisely the wrong time. Tencent, one of the largest digital businesses in China, last week announced its first ever fall in quarterly sales and a massive 57% decline in profits compared with Q2 2021; and the Government seems to be at war with e-Commerce – just look at how badly Alibaba has been treated!

Not least, the Government seems unconvinced about online health consultations – one of Health Care Zone’s main selling points – and rightly will make sure that only qualified professionals give advice, but with a very high ethical bar on how this advice is delivered.

Be sure to honour your campaign with our APAC Creative Marketing Award, celebrating the best and most creative marketing achievements across the region over the past year. Voted for by online participants during our APAC e-Conference on 23 November, contact Elizabeth.Bernos@NicholasHall.com for full entry criteria. Entries close on 23 October!

BAYER SETS OUT KEY SCIENCE-LED SELF-CARE PRINCIPLES

Bayer’s Science-Led Self-Care: Principles for Best Practice sets out five key principles that should underpin all self-care products improving health & wellness. The paper is intended to spark a conversation within the industry and stakeholders around the need to promote science-led self-care for the benefit of consumers. In the wake of the pandemic and the rise of accessible, digital information, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in maintaining and managing their own health. Enabling this shift means they will need to trust that the choices they make are the best.

Bayer’s five Principles of Science-Led Self-Care are the:

  • Science of the Human: Self-care products rooted in a thorough understanding of human biology, medical insights & unmet needs
  • Science of Regulation: Independent regulation to ensure safety & efficacy through transparent communication, accurate labelling and supported claims
  • Science of Collaboration: Carefully judged collaborations focused on win-win outcomes can help improve access to self-care, making products available more widely and empowering more consumers to take charge of their health
Source: Bayer’s Science-led Self-Care report
  • Science of Discovery: Self-care products that have been rigorously researched, founded on scientific principles & developed with a deep understanding of consumers’ unmet needs
  • Science of the Consumer-Product Experience: A seamless experience beginning with the initial search for information, continuing through to the physical interaction with the product itself that helps better use self-care products

Comment from Bayer CH Chief Scientific Officer, David Evendon-Challis: For many companies like Bayer engaging in science-led self-care, these principles will already be a part of their process. These are what set science-led self-care products apart. We look forward to kicking off a robust discussion with industry peers, health and medical professionals, policy makers and consumers about how these principles can continue to evolve to contribute to better health for all.

Sharpen your skills and develop your understanding of Self-Care at the forthcoming CHC Training Academy workshop in Bucharest on 26 October. This will be followed by a free 1-day conference, hosted by RASCI, focusing on Health Literacy, opened with a keynote speech from Nicholas Hall. To register, or for more information on group booking rates, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

DIGITAL HEALTH LITERACY DILEMMA IN AUSTRALIA

Consumer Healthcare Products Australia’s Self-Care Opportunity Report, which gathered views from 2,000 adults to uncover their knowledge and skills in managing everyday health conditions, has uncovered a significant digital health challenge. Key findings include:

  • 66% of Australians seek information online for common health conditions before consulting a healthcare professional, but 91% do not fully understand the information they find
  • 80% of Millennials go online for healthcare information before seeing a GP or pharmacist, while 47% of Baby Boomers go online as a first port of call
  • 97% feel responsible for managing their own health and 84% want to improve their health skills and knowledge to be more engaged in their health, but 30% consider their health literacy level to be low
  • 81% use health websites, apps or social media to manage common health conditions
Source: CHP Australia’s Self-Care Opportunity Report

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: The latest survey by CHP Australia raises some real concerns about health literacy. As CEO Deon Schoombie comments: “[This] report clearly shows an urgent need to help Australians with digital health literacy – to know where to find, how to interpret and how to use health information from online sources. This is very important as we can clearly see those with higher literacy levels have higher engagement in their health … We have an opportunity now to make a significant difference to our overall national health status by making a greater investment in self-care education, upskilling digital health literacy and creating more verified and easy-to-access digital health sources.”

So, unlike the outlook for the market in 2022, where the evidence is both insubstantial and to an extent contradictory, the message about consumers is clear. If we want consumers to fully participate in self-care, we need to give them access to reliable information with which they can make informed decisions affecting their own health.

Gain valuable tools and techniques to expand your health literacy at the next workshop hosted by the CHC Training Academy, on 26 October in Bucharest! The following day, RASCI will host a free 1-day conference, focusing on Health Literacy — Driving Self-Care Forward, beginning with an exclusive keynote presentation from Nicholas Hall. To register, or for more information on group booking rates, please contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.