Sleep disorders on the rise globally

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According to a new in-depth analysis of the global sleep aids market by Nicholas Hall’s Reports, sleeplessness and sleep disorders are on the rise, with approximately one third of the world’s population affected. Many consumers are happy to self-medicate, increasingly opting for a variety of herbal & natural, homeopathic and medical device brands, driving OTC growth in key markets like Brazil and Spain (see sample pages).

In terms of sales, sleep aids & sedatives generate an OTC total of over US$2.3bn globally, but have been characterised by low growth in recent years, and are in need of rejuvenation via new product development, adjacencies or connected health solutions. The self-medication sleep aids market (registered OTCs and a variety of supplements) also suffers from regulatory diversity across markets for common sleep aid ingredients.

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Genuine innovation is thin on the ground, but generics and “me-toos” launch frequently. Adjacencies focused on sleep offer alternatives, with other categories also entering the fray including nighttime analgesics, cough & cold remedies, menopause and other supplements. Connected Health is a key area of expansion. Sleep aid brands partnered with technology – passive (e.g. analysing sleep patterns / providing feedback) or active (improving sleep) – may break the low-growth cycle.

Comment from Ian Crook, Managing Editor, Nicholas Hall’s Reports: Sleep is a health area that lends itself easily to self-medication via sedating antihistamines and herbal & natural ingredients such as melatonin and valerian, while medical devices and digital health focused on sleep are seeing increased investment. With widespread concern over the “sleep loss epidemic” and significant implications for overall health from lack of sleep, it is imperative that consumers have access to tools to help them sleep. Raised levels of stress, anxiety and smartphone / tablet use ensure rising demand that can be tapped into by the right self-care solutions.

The full report, Sleep: Exploring Opportunities for Growth in Sleep Aids & Sedatives, is available now and more details can be found here. To order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

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Competition rises in sleep devices category

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Now available to buy in the US and selected European markets via the Nokia Health store, the new Nokia Sleep device is a sensor pad that can be placed under the mattress to monitor sleep patterns, track heart rate and detect snoring. 

It also syncs up to Nokia’s Health Mate app and provides smart home control via IFTTT (if this then that) integration, which allows for automatic thermostat regulation and light adjustment. The app also allows the user to view their Sleep Score to get an insight into what makes a good night’s sleep and how to improve night after night.

Packaged as a sensor pad with USB charger, Nokia Sleep retails at $99.95 (USA), €99.95 (Europe) and £99.95 (UK), and the brand website indicates that there are plans to roll out the product in key Asia-Pacific markets like China and Japan.

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Facing stiff competition in the smartphone market from Apple, Google and Chinese manufacturers, Nokia – the former king of mobile phones – is looking to further diversify its business.

Nokia Sleep was due to launch earlier this year, but news of a strategic review of Nokia’s Digital Health business in February 2018 put the rollout in doubt. Nokia will be monitoring closely how this new product fares against established competitor Beddit, which was acquired by Apple in 2017.

Whether you want to find out more about the latest innovations, benchmark the competition or simply keep abreast of new launches, Nicholas Hall’s extensive OTC New Products Tracker is an essential competitive intelligence tool that you simply must trial. Subscribers can also benefit from a newsletter highlighting the key product innovations affecting the industry. Find out more or set up your free trial today by contacting david.redford@NicholasHall.com

Avon enters VMS category

As this week’s OTC DASHBOARD infographic shows, the percentage of Americans that consume dietary supplements continues to grow, hitting an all-time high of 76% in 2017. This has helped create a vast US vitamins, minerals & supplements category, which in turn continues to attract the interest of companies not traditionally associated with the OTC market. For example, Amazon launched several supplements as part of its Amazon Elements line in spring 2017, including vitamin D, turmeric and calcium products, all of which have a strong emphasis on ingredient traceability.

Another new entrant in 2018 is Avon, a company that is undergoing a rapid transformation to become the “leading social selling company in North America”, according to CEO Scott White. Part of the company’s strategy is a return to the health & wellness market, including the launch of a new Espira line of 11 dietary supplements.

Launched in January 2018, and available at a retail price of US$12-35 through Avon Representatives or http://www.avon.com, Espira for Avon is categorised into three principles of wellness:

  • Restore contains 2 sedatives & sleep aids and 2 multivitamins, with ingredients that help to reduce occasional stress and enhance restful sleep, including Sensoril, L-theanine, vitamin B, magnesium, fish oil + antioxidants from fruits & vegetables
  • Boost is subdivided into Metabolism Boost and Natural Energy products, with ingredients such as protein, probiotic, fibre, green tea, cacao + whole coffee fruit to help maintain a healthy metabolism, clear out the system and control hunger
  • Glow contains 3 health & beauty supplements formulated with antioxidants, biotin, vitamin C + collagen peptides to help hair, skin and nails look their best by protecting from daily damage and restoring cells while you sleep

As with the Amazon Elements range, Avon’s new products will be sold via the e-commerce channel, while the company will also be looking to steal share from multilevel and direct marketers such as Herbalife and Amway.

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.

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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!

OTCs in Action Episode 30: Kava kava, glucosamine shift status in Germany, France

OTCinActionheaderThis week’s OTCs in Action starts out in Philadelphia, where last week some Germans who came to visit me purchased the dietary supplement melatonin for personal use, because it’s only available on prescription at home. The German OTC sleep aids market is largely composed of natural products, such as valerian and homeopathic remedies, so it was somewhat surprising that melatonin is not available OTC.

In contrast, the Cologne Administrative Court overturned a ban on the calming herb, kava kava, last year. Owing to concerns about liver toxicity, the ingredient was withdrawn from most European markets in 2002, and the FDA issued a warning letter discouraging use of the product in the US. Subsequent research has indicated that the original studies were flawed, and the German court ruled that the risks did not outweigh the ingredient’s benefits.

Click on this link to access OTC INSIGHT Europe’s latest report on the German OTC sleep aids market.

Elsewhere in Europe, France has approved the Rx-to-OTC switch of Biocodex’s Dolenio (glucosamine 1,178mg, 30-tab pack), a slow-acting anti-arthritis medicine. This follows the dereimbursement of several anti-arthritis brands, which had been reimbursed at 15% when prescribed by a doctor. Affected brands included Piasclédine (Expanscience, avocado-soybean unsaponifiables), Chondrosulf (Genévrier / IBSA, chondroitin sulphate), Art 50 (Negma, diacerein) and Voltaflex (Novartis, glucosamine).

Piasclédine and Chondrosulf (in particular) used to command huge sales as semi-ethical brands in France, but now face a challenging, but potentially lucrative, new future in the self-medication sphere.