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.

Bumps in the road for China’s e-Commerce market

China’s e-Commerce market has grown strongly in recent years, but the sector is now navigating more difficult times, with the following developments all reported recently:

  • Shares in online platforms such as Alibaba Health and JD Health fell last week following a report in 21st Century Business Herald that the government could ban 3rd-party platforms from selling medicines on the internet. Regulators will reportedly clarify the definition of 3rd-party platforms, which was mentioned in a regulatory proposal last month
  • The National Radio & TV Administration and Ministry of Tourism & Culture released new rules on live-streaming events, including the requirement for influencers who discuss topics such as medicine to have relevant qualifications. Live-streaming events have become a prominent promotional tool for CHC marketers, especially during lockdowns when other forms of A+P such as outdoor events and in-store activities have been limited
  • JD.com reported growth of 10.3% during this month’s 618 shopping festival (vs the same event in 2021) and sales of RMB379bn (US$57bn); this is JD’s slowest growth rate for 618, which was launched in 2004, and down from the 27.7% upturn reported in 2021. This follows Alibaba reporting its slowest Singles Day growth in November 2021 since the event began in 2009
Source: www.hicom-asia.com

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: Last week we wrote that e-Commerce is essential for the new Haleon, as indeed it is for almost all CHC players. But in our calculations, we have assumed the continued high growth of China’s e-Commerce sector. And yet, the top players like Alibaba (owner of Taobao.com) and JD have been sending out SOS signals, warning of a rapid slowdown of growth, partly I suspect because they are coming increasingly under the thumb of the Government, from whose lofty perch the success or decline of e-Commerce is of very little import.

Now my colleague Nicola Allan, the CHC Insight Asia-Pacific Senior Editor, has reminded me that despite these negative stories, China’s e-Commerce channel is outperforming physical retail, as continued lockdowns drive consumers to shop online. So in one sense perhaps we don’t need to be overly concerned; on the other hand, perhaps we are wise to introduce a note of skepticism into our view of e-Commerce prospects.

According to our latest DB6 forecasts, which were constructed with great rigour only a few weeks ago, the global CHC e-Commerce market in 2031 will be worth US$97.7bn at MSP. But 249% growth between 2021-2031 is heavily dependent on China, which is slated to grow by 333%, and whose share of global is expected to increase from 34% in 2021 to 42% in 2031. Without China, e-Commerce is still a tearaway success with a forecast 205%  growth rate, but will not be in the same league.

The agenda for our Asia-Pacific e-Conference on 23rd November will be released next week! Register with elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com to take a look at the first line-up of participants who will explore expanding possibilities in CHC across the region. Our Regional CHC Creative Marketing Award will also be presented during this event.

Future and Cooper in European MED3000 licensing agreement

Futura Medical has entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with French-based Cooper, a leading European independent self-care company, for the rights to commercialise its gel-based ED treatment MED3000 throughout the European Economic Area, UK and Switzerland (where it will be marketed as Eroxon). Under the agreement, Futura will receive an (undisclosed) upfront payment, as well as cumulative sales milestone payments and will manufacture and supply the product (through its 3rd party contract manufacturers) to Cooper. In compliance with EU competition law, the initial licence agreement term is five years.

Nicholas Hall’s Touchpoints: This is an outstanding product, which my colleague Ian Crook, who authored our recent Sexual Health & Fertility report, describes as: “The first clinically-proven topical device for erectile dysfunction.” He tells me that MED3000 has the potential to shake up the ED market and that Futura believes it has identified a significant unmet need for an ED treatment that is efficacious, well-tolerated and works within minutes.

Six months after securing its first licensing agreement with Co-High Investment Management in China and SE Asia (March 2021), Futura struck a deal with US-based specialty biopharmaceutical company m8 to exclusively develop and commercialise MED3000 in Brazil and Mexico. This latest deal with Cooper, covering EEA, UK and Switzerland, brings the marketer a step closer to a planned launch in Europe, after the product received CE mark approval as a Class II(b) medical device in May 2021. Several positive factors – medical device status, lack of an active ingredient (the brand’s mode of action utilises a unique evaporative mechanism) and the fact that once approved it will be available without a prescription – contribute to MED3000’s sizeable potential.

Sexual health is one of the most dynamic sectors in the CHC market and a product like this is “la crème de la crème”: unique features and benefits, excellent performance, easy to use, no appreciable side-effects and – above all – significant need and high unmet demand. It is with highly innovative new products like this that we can look forward to industry growth even greater than our latest 5.5% forecast (all channels of distribution).

ED products are among the categories analysed in our recent Sexual Health & Fertility report. With reviews of other key categories including contraception, menopause, FemTech and intimate care, the report also highlights key trends and NPD. For further details, or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.