Sales and innovation rising fast for sedatives & sleep aids

CHCINACTION

Covid-19’s impact on the consumer healthcare market is now well-established, with a notable spike in sales of certain CHC subcategories like analgesics, vitamin C supplements and antiseptics & disinfectants. Indeed, a fascinating recent report in the FT story reveals the lengths that RB has gone to in order to maintain supply of antiseptic brand Dettol during the pandemic. In addition, we’re also seeing some perhaps less expected upsurges in demand for other products as a result of Covid-19, for example eye care treatments and sedatives & sleep aids.

In the latter case, anxiety caused by the pandemic is leading consumers to seek refuge in products that promote relaxation and reduce stress. In response to this trend, US retailer CVS has this month created a new “Calm & Comfort” section in thousands of its pharmacies to accommodate this growing need for stress relief products, from weighted blankets and aromatherapy to supplements that promote enhanced mood and sleep, according to a report in WWD. Even before Covid-19, we were noticing a clear upturn in sales of sedatives & sleep aids, partly driven by rising NPD activity – as demonstrated by the chart below – and the pandemic is accelerating this trend.

Sedatives + sleep, 2017-19

According to CHC New Products Tracker, NPD activity in the sedatives & sleep aids subcategory reached an all-time high in 2019 (with almost 150 entries added to the database), and this upsurge in innovation was reflected in global sales growth, which accelerated to 7.3% in 2019 according to DB6, driven by the US market. Notable developments so far in this subcategory in 2020 include P&G’s New Chapter One Daily Multiherbal Stress Relief and Sleep Well products, as well as R3set, which will be a key feature of CVS’ new Calm & Comfort section. 

R3set, a new brand focused on helping people to manage stress, was recently launched in selected Target and 4,400+ CVS stores. The first two dietary supplements – citrus mint-flavoured Calm (l-theanine, valerian root + ahiflower) and lavender mint-flavoured Unwind (ashwagandha, passion flower + chamomile) – are formulated by co-Founder Dr Eric First, along with development partner Lonza. Each microdose capsule is coated with aromatherapy oils to provide a soothing experience and the products come with instructions for a simple breathing exercise. The supplements retail for US$19.99 for a 14-count bottle; 14-day combo packs cost US$34.99 and 5-day starter packs US$14.99. 

Where will NPD take the CHC market in the future? Find out in our recently published report, Innovation in CHC: NPD & Innovation in CHC under the Spotlight! This report, drawing on Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker, assesses the global picture of CHC innovation, featuring ingredient trends, delivery format trends, analysing innovation trends by region and by marketer, plus much more! To order your copy, or for more information, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

The Big Sleep

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning, after the committee of sleep has worked on itJohn Steinbeck

With incidences of work-related stress picking up at an alarming rate around the globe, people constantly logging on and off the internet and electronic devices, and long-haul flights becoming longer and ever more frequent, so the quality of sleep from New York to London and Beijing has plummeted.  While the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention put the number of US citizens suffering from sleep disorders anywhere between 50-70mn, around a third of Europeans are said to suffer from sleep problems, rising to well over a half of all those over 65. Luckily the vast majority of these can be treated easily and safely with self-medication – the Chinese OTC sleep aids category is filled with TCMs, the US led by medicated ingredient diphenhydramine, while European markets are particularly fond of natural remedies with valerian, hops and melatonin.

It could even be that a good old glass of milk might be enough for some people. Scientists at the Sahmyook University in South Korea have shown that milk produced by cows at night – as opposed to during the day – can have a sedative effect, with their study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. The study suggested that ‘nocturnal milk’ contains plenty of sleep-promoting ingredients, including the amino acid tryptophan and melatonin.

cow image

Your friendly sleep promoter

‘Night Milk’ is already on sale in pharmacies and drugstores in Germany in the form of Nachtmilchkristalle, a brand and company set up by farmer Tony Gnann. The cows are milked at night for the extra melatonin release – up to 100 times more than regular milk according to the company – with the animals also receiving a special regime of UV and long-wave red lights during the winter when they can’t be kept outside. Sales of the freeze-dried milk crystals, which can be stirred into other liquids, have not yet been enough to really test the leading sleep aid brands in Germany, but the recent South Korean study could provide a significant boost, and global interest is spreading. “In the past year we have seen increasing demand from England and soon it will be available in China”, said Kai Oppal, co-owner of Nachtmilchkristalle.

So maybe one last glass of the white stuff isn’t such a bad idea? Goodnight!