NMI recently released a report about trends pertaining to supplements, over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs. The market researcher identified four trends on the rise and, specifically, how supplement brands can appeal to them. But what do these trends say about the consumer? Maryellen Molyneaux, president and managing partner of NMI, shed some light on the consumer shifts behind these trends.
1. Proof of efficacy
Perceived quality and reported clinical substantiation arenâ€™t enough for todayâ€™s consumers, who want to make every dollar count and want tangible proof of effectiveness. Supplements can speak to this consumer, NMI says, by providing testimonials, visual proof, physician and pharmacists recommendations and, where possible, clinically proven benefits the consumer can actually experience.
Consumer shift: Consumers have been asking for more for quite some time. Specifically, Molyneaux points to the Great Recession of 2008 as a turning point where consumers lost a great deal of moneyâ€“and controlâ€“and wanted to be sure they werenâ€™t wasting their hard earned dollars. Though the economy has bounced back, Molyneaux says consumersâ€™ attitudes have stayed the same. â€œThey want more for their money,â€� she says. â€œThey are protective of their dollars and they want proof that what theyâ€™re buying will work.â€�
2. Tangible value
Not unlike consumersâ€™ desire for proof, they want to be sure that the products they buy will produce a tangible effect. When it comes to supplements, brands must be able to provide realized value if they want to stay on consumersâ€™ priority lists.
Consumer shift: According to Molyneaux, consumers have the highest belief in the effectiveness of supplements for digestion, immune health and joint health. Why? â€œYou can tell if theyâ€™re working,â€� she says. â€œWith digestive supplements, you know immediately that itâ€™s working if the pain is gone. You know your immune health supplement is working if youâ€™re getting fewer colds. And you know your joint health supplement is working if you cam move more easily.â€� Plus, when it comes to older consumers, she says, bioavailability is increasingly important, as they want to know theyâ€™re getting (read: absorbing) what theyâ€™re paying for.
3. Emerging attributes
Though less important than the two trends above, attributes like sustainability, organic and plant-based are on the rise.
Consumer shift: According to Molyneaux, attributes like organic, non-GMO and sustainable have doubled in importance for consumers, indicating an upward trend that isnâ€™t going anywhere. â€œWe see this pattern coming over from the food industry,â€� she says. â€œConsumers want high quality across the board.â€�
4. OTC market
NMI found that the most-used OTC products address pain, immunity (cough/cold) and digestion. But since only one in four consumers feel these are very safe or effective, thereâ€™s an opportunity for supplement brands to offer better solutions.
Consumer shift: â€œOTC brands feel theyâ€™re facing a downhill battle because consumers are opting for more control, and donâ€™t want chemicals,â€� Molyneaux says. â€œThey have a desire for control they lost during the recession.â€� As a result, consumers may not be looking to simply address symptoms with an OTC medicine, but rather address the underlying nutritional issues with supplements. They donâ€™t want to rely on medicines or doctors if they can help it, Molyneaux says, and would rather take control of their own health with a natural supplement.