New Global Briefing: Global Trends in Sleep Aids and Stress Management

Sleep aids is one of the fastest growing categories in consumer health, posting a CAGR of 4.4% between 2011 and 2016 to reach USD2.2 billion globally in 2016. Sales in OTC sleep aids are influenced by rising stress levels among consumers who point to demands from work and family as well as increased use of mobile devices as primary drivers of their sleeplessness. Sleep aids are often positioned as stress relievers as well, as consumers look to address both conditions simultaneously. This briefing analyses global trends in what causes consumers to feel stressed, what devices and OTC products they are likely to turn to in order to relieve their stress, and how the overlapping fields of stress and sleep management impact sales of OTC sleep aid products in different markets.

Summary of Key Findings

This global analysis offers a comprehensive view on the following topics:

1. The current state of stress management and sleep aid sales: The global market for sleep aids is one of the fastest growing categories in the OTC space. Though retail sales of sleep aids amounted to just USD2.2 billion in 2016, far below cough, cold, and allergy remedies at USD33.6 billion (the largest OTC category), sleep aids grew rapidly over 2011-2016 at a CAGR of 4.4%, second only in historical CAGR terms to emergency contraception at 6.2%. Looking forward, sales of sleep aids are expected to post a CAGR of 3.3% globally to reach a retail value of USD2.5 billion by 2021. Sales of sleep aids are heavily affected by demographic and epidemiological factors, particularly in the developed world as consumers increasingly report higher levels of work and family-related stressors as well as a decline in number of hours slept each night. And, as stress levels continue to increase, consumers will likely continue to turn to OTC sleep aids for relief.

2. Key Market Trends: Though consumers in industrialized countries often report similar trends in the sources of their stress (for example, an increasingly digitalized world and the demands of work and family life), their reaction to these stressors is often very different: in some markets like the US, consumers prefer to use sleep aids with pharmaceutical components while in other markets, like Germany, consumers are shying away from OTC products with chemical components and moving towards more herbal and traditional sleep remedies, such as products that contain valerian or hops. Additionally, the impact that RX alternatives, medical devices, and behaviour trends have on the OTC market will be crucially important in analysing the future development of the market for sleep aids and stress management.

3. Regional Analysis: There are marked differences in how consumers across the globe address their sleeplessness: consumers in the US and in the Middle East & Africa turn to chemically-based products, while consumers in Western Europe prefer herbal and traditional products, and those in Latin America heavily prefer sleep aids that contain passiflora. And, while important insights can be gleaned from looking at national markets, diving down to a per capita level shows that though the US and China are two of the largest markets for sleep aids, consumers spend more per capita on sleep aids in Western and Eastern Europe.

4. Looking Ahead: OTC sleep aids are expected to continue their rapid growth across the world, driven by both epidemiological trends as well as an increasingly busy and stressed consumer base. While North America and Western Europe maintain their global dominance in overall sales, other important markets to watch include Italy and Saudi Arabia, both of which are growing at more than double the rate of the global market itself and represent a total increase in absolute value retail sales of USD39 and US8 million respectively over the forecast period of 2016-2021.