Brands return to shelves with fanfare
Both Novartis Consumer Health and McNeil Consumer Healthcare will be making strong comebacks across their respective analgesic portfolios in the second half of this year, which will make a fourth-quarter battle royale across analgesics, as well as cough-cold.
Retail partners are excited about getting these venerable brand names back on shelf, suggested Stefan Merlo, director of healthcare strategy at Novartis Consumer Health, as part of a special edition of DSN Executive Viewpoints. "They’re treating them almost as if they are new launches," he said. "And they are investing [with us] in different types of displays, innovative types of [displays] so that we can make the awareness about these brands even greater."
McNeil has similarly pledged to partner with key retail partners "on strategic relationships that are … supporting their health and wellness strategies," noted Sandra Peterson, group worldwide chairman at McNeil, in a recent analyst call. "By year-end, our plan is to deliver reliable and consistent supply of three-quarters of the product brands."
As Novartis and McNeil ramp up marketing and merchandising commitments for the fourth quarter, competitors are expected to follow suit. "The combination of [McNeil] and Novartis coming back at the same time, you’ll have those companies … doing more merchandising, advertising and promotion," Laura Mahecha, industry manager at Kline Healthcare, told DSN. "The competitive set will match them [so as to] not get lost in [the] noise," she said.
With the return of brands like Tylenol and Excedrin, Prestige Brands is looking to shake up the internal analgesics space with the launch of Goody’s Headache Relief Shot. "We believe the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot is truly a game-changer in pain relief," stated Joseph Juliano, brand director for Goody’s. "There is no other product like it on the market."
Weight-loss services, kits gain repeat customers
The sale of diet aids and weight-management products is booming — approaching the $5 billion mark as an overall category across total multi-outlets, growing at a 12% clip.
But the real opportunity is in weight-loss services. You not only get those return trips for advice and the opportunity to sell additional fitness-oriented products, you have the potential of having a transformed patient who associates "healthy living" with the retail banner.
For example, MinuteClinic’s new weight-loss program incorporates the DASH diet. The program includes weekly visits with a MinuteClinic practitioner, as well as nutrition and weight-loss advice — and most insurance plans cover the cost of the program.
Walmart recently adjusted its perception on what meal replacement options consumers would buy in the mass channel with a pilot with Nutrisystem. The initial results were so positive, Walmart expanded that pilot to more than 3,700 locations based on strong consumer demand. "We’re seeing repeat business at Walmart, as well as multiple kit purchases, indicating that customers are seeing good results and enlisting other family members to diet with them," noted Dawn Zier, Nutrisystem CEO. "We expect to have additional product and kit to launch in retail for the 2014 diet season."
Within the weight-loss tablet space, GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli has been gaining traction with its return to market. Alli, the largest product in the space in terms of dollars, is experiencing 22.7% growth on sales of $62.6 million, according to IRI. GSK is rebuilding this brand under a new marketing campaign branded, "Let’s fight fat."
Devices, apps promote preventive approach
For the three months ended in May, smartphone penetration reached 61% of the U.S. market, according to Nielsen. Penetration of smartphones remained lowest among Americans ages 55 years and older (42%), but this group is catching up fast, as penetration among this demographic has nearly doubled over the past year.
As tech-savvy baby boomers continue to explore ways to extend their quality of life, the healthcare system is moving from a "sick care" model to a outcomes-based, disease-state-prevention model that will eventually incent young and old to better track their health care ‚ — benefiting sales of tech-enabled self-care devices.
Installations of mobile apps used for sports and fitness activities are set to rise by 63% from 2012 to 2017, generating strong potential demand for wearable health devices like heart rate monitors, or HRMs. "An IHS consumer survey revealed that 62% of respondents interested in using sports and fitness apps also were prepared to purchase hardware that enhances the functionality of the software," said Shane Walker, senior manager for consumer and digital health research at IHS.
For those products helping consumers to self-monitor existing health conditions — total multi-outlet annual sales for blood-glucose meters are up 3.7%, according to IRI, and blood-pressure monitors are up 1.5% — even a slightly improving economy is expected to further lift this category. "A lot of [the growth] is due to the economy improving," noted Ranndy Kellogg, COO of Omron Healthcare. "People are starting to take better care of themselves. It’s not that there are less doctor recommendations or less hypertensives," Kellogg said, rather self-diagnostics was seen as a "nice-to-have" purchase.