HEALTH

Reaching expectant moms early is key

BY Michael Johnsen

While a slight uptick in the birth rate in 2014 gave hope to marketers of baby care products, recent data showed that the trend was short-lived.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

According to a report released earlier this year by the National Center for Health Statistics, there was an unexpected drop in the number of babies born in the United States in 2015. Demographers had anticipated that the number of births would rise in 2015, as it had in 2014, but concluded that the lingering impacts of the recession and housing collapse are keeping many women from choosing to have children.

While the unexpected decline in the number of babies born across the country has raised concerns among marketers of everything from pregnancy test kits to baby formula, most are heartened by demographers optimism for the near future. History, they note, is likely to repeat itself.

After slumping for nearly a decade in the late 1960s and early 1970s, births picked up in the 1980s and 1990s — those babies are now the generation known as millennials and are about to hit the years that people are most likely to become parents.

And, they noted, with women waiting until late in life to have children, they are often in better financial shape to afford the products they need to raise that child, making them more likely to become loyal baby care shoppers.

“It is important to start educating and building relationships early with expecting moms as they are actively educating themselves and planning for the care of their baby,” said Jeff Vernimb, general manager at Moberg Pharma North America, which recently relaunched its line of Balmex diaper rash creams and healing ointment with new packaging, a revamped website and a multifaceted promotional campaign. “New moms also tend to be loyal to the first brand they try because they are hesitant to risk a change once they are comfortable with a routine.”

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HEALTH

Sting-Kill ends pain, itching of bug bites, stings

BY Richard Monks

CORNWALL, N.Y. — While summer means backyard barbeques and other outdoor activities, it also means having to deal with pesky mosquitos and insects, sending consumers across the country in search of an effective way to ward off these pests and deal with their bites.

(Click here to view the full OTC Category Review.)

Over the past year, one of the options that people turn to ease the pain of insect bites has been Randob Labs’ Sting-Kill. IRI data showed that for the 12 months ended May 15, Sting-Kill sales increased by slightly more than 29%. Randob executives said the brand has been popular because of its unique formula that instantly kills the pain and stops the itching associated with insect stings and bites. Randob Labs president Jim Creagan said the brand also has benefited from increased distribution, a new marketing campaign and redesigned packaging.

“When new category managers are introduced to the product, we get a great reception,” he said. “We are expecting big things for 2017.”

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Zika virus scare sends repellent sales soaring

BY Richard Monks

Barraged by news reports about the impact of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, consumers have been purchasing bug sprays and insect repellents in record numbers.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

According to the data analysis firm 1010data, online sales of mosquito repellent during February, March and April hit $5.9 million, a 323% spike over the $1.4 million spent during the same period in 2015. Data from IRI, charting brick-and-mortar sales over the 12 months ended May 15, showed a 4.4% increase in the first-aid insect products segment, with total retail sales during the year just short of $15.2 million.

Suppliers and retailers say most of that increase came in the past few months, and they expect sales to continue to soar as summer progresses. Some suggest that while their particular product will not be sought out by people looking to ward off mosquitos, the Zika scare could act as a sort of tide that lifts all boats.

“You need a repellent to fight off Zika virus,” said Jim Creagan, president of Randob Labs, which markets Sting-Kill, a maximum-strength formula that relieves the pain and itching from insect stings and bites. “I am sure there is some secondary effect where mosquitoes are top of mind of the shopper, so they may buy some repellent, a citronella candle and some Sting-Kill all in the same shopping trip.”

According to the CDC, Zika-carrying mosquitos will flourish in as many as 40 states this summer, and retailers have helped shoppers prepare by offering promotions, educational efforts and ensuring that they have adequate supplies of insect repellent products.

CVS pharmacy, for example, is adding signage to its 4,000 stores and distributing pamphlets on how to combat the disease.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, where Walgreens operates 120 stores, the company has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and the Puerto Rico Department of Health to raise awareness about how residents can protect themselves from Zika virus. In addition, the retailer has cut the price on products that the CDC said can fight Zika. The price reductions ran the gamut from DEET-based insect repellents to condoms, which can prevent sexual transmission of the disease.

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