Gummies maintain strong growth
The gummy sub-segment within overall vitamins is not only still growing substantially, the dollar volume of that alternative delivery format has reached nowhere near its ceiling of potential, at least not yet. Overall, sales of vitamins for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2014, were up 0.4% to $6.5 billion across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI.
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Relatively flat sales is just not the story with gummies — they’re still on a strong growth projectory. “The actual gummy segment is up like 9% to 10%,” Jim Craigie, Church & Dwight chairman and CEO, told analysts earlier in May, referencing more recent sales trends. “That’s really encouraging news. That’s why we bought into this business — because the gummies was the fastest-growing piece of the business,” he said.
C&D has almost completed construction of its new gummy vitamin manufacturing facility in York, Pa. “This significant $60 million investment is expected to expand our production capacity by 75%,” Craigie said. “We believe the future prospects of the gummy vitamin category are strong as more adults switch from traditional vitamin pills to gummy vitamins, as evidenced by the continued double-digit growth of the category.”
But C&D isn’t the only one gaming for gummies. Perrigo and Ferrara Candy Co. announced in January a five-year deal to manufacture store-brand gummy vitamins and dietary supplements to seize this trend opportunity. Citing IRI multi-outlet data, sales of just vitamin and dietary supplement gummies are forecasted to reach $1 billion by 2017, Perrigo reported.
Marketing condoms for the female buyer
Move over fellas; the condom aisle isn’t just for men anymore. Well, it never was really, but as retail pharmacies become more adept at discreetly merchandising intimacy health — remember when the pharmacist had to pull the condom display from behind the counter? — there is a trend developing toward marketing condoms with the female buyer in mind.
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The Female Health Co. in May announced a targeted media plan and a focus on developing a line of women’s reproductive health products in support of its one SKU — the FC2 Female Condom. The company will concentrate on targeting women who are dissatisfied with the side effects of hormonal birth control, and who feel that the traditional male condom offers less enjoyment.
And both Lovability Inc. and Sustain Condoms are relatively new companies entering the prophylactic space with a focus on marketing toward women. Lovability has designed a condom it thinks women will feel comfortable carrying in their purses. They contract manufacture through NRS Global Partners, and their Indiegogo capital-raising campaign was 184% funded on Feb. 15.
Meanwhile, Sustain Condoms has committed 10% of pre-tax profits to reproductive health care as part of its 10%4Women initiative in an effort to address the estimated 17.4 million women in need of publicly funded reproductive health and family planning services.
Overall, 80% of millennials agree that condom use is important, but only 35% say they always use one, according to a recent Trojan survey. And while 83% of women feel it’s a shared responsibility to suggest using a condom, only 13% of women bought condoms for their most recent sexual encounter.
Don’t be a glass-half-empty merchandiser, however, because that 87% who did not buy represents a market opportunity. And the category could use the boost in actively buying consumers — sales of male contraceptives were flat (up 0.4%) for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2014, reaching $382.5 million across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. Sales of female contraceptives (made up of almost entirely emergency contraceptives) totaled $277.7 million on 15.6% growth.
“Condoms are mostly marketed toward men,” said Meika Hollender, marketing director for Sustain Condoms in an interview last year with “Running Late with Scott Rogowsky,” a local New York talk show. “Women have been conditioned to think that men are supposed to buy the condoms and carry the condoms.”
Potential of wearable health devices grows
Still in their infancy, wearable health devices offer pharmacists an opportunity to be on the frontlines of what many feel could be an essential part of health care’s future.
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Suppliers and healthcare analysts say that pharmacists are well positioned to be the go-to healthcare professionals to help patients make the most of the data that these devices record, ensuring that the information collected is used to prevent illness and drive outcomes.
As technology companies have delved deeper into health and wellness, the market has seen the development of wearable devices that do everything from monitor activity and sleep patterns to detect body temperature, heart rate, hydration levels and a range of other essential body functions.
Utilizing sophisticated analytic software, these devices let consumers manage their health while giving healthcare providers a powerful tool to monitor (often remotely) patients’ health, improve their care and reduce costs.
In addition, the data collected from wearables allow members of a patient’s healthcare team to meet the growing need to prove that their efforts are driving outcomes.
The potential of wearable devices to revolutionize the way health care is provided across the entire healthcare system is fueling investment in digital health and wearable technology with some forecasters predicting that the market will show huge growth over the next few years. Some estimates said the global market for wearables could expand by as much as 30% a year through 2019.
One of the reasons for the optimism about the vast potential of wearable devices to change the way health care is provided can be found with the number of potential new users for these devices. In a survey of 1,000 patients conducted last summer, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that only 1-in-5 adults in the United States owns a wearable health device and only 1-in-10 use that device every day.