New Global Briefing: Consumer Health – World Trends, Developments and Prospects

Euromonitor publishes a new global briefing on Consumer Health with insights and analyses shaping the industry in 2009 and beyond. The implications of the economy, regulatory activity, consumer behaviour and retailing are analysed to provide you with an overview of the latest trends, developments and prospects across the globe.

Highlights of the briefing

The consumer health industry was resilient to the economic downturn in 2009. Retail value sales grew 4% to reach US$169 billion in the same year. Consumers shifted their purchases toward small packaging, low-priced brands, private label and generics.

Governments, now concerned with a higher incidence of chronic diseases prevailing in the population, are creating and implementing prevention and wellness programmes that educate consumers on the benefits of self-care. In the meantime, regulatory agencies across the world are stepping up their actions against contaminated products, overdosing, and questionable health claims. In this new regulatory environment, OTC switches face opportunities and challenges depending on the country.

Latin American and Eastern Europe outpaced retail sales over other regions by promoting a wider array of affordable options and fostering local production. In contrast, consumers in North America and Western Europe turned their purchases to low-priced options that fit their shrinking incomes. In spite of the positive growth rates in China, a flat performance in Japan dragged the Asia Pacific region to a lower growth in sales.

The year 2009 was characterised by major mergers and acquisitions that shook the competitive landscape. Giant Pfizer Inc returned to the consumer health arena with the acquisition of Wyeth, while Merck & Co extended its reach with the acquisition of Schering-Plough. Alternatively, Sanofi-Aventis captured an instant presence in the largest consumer health market, the United States, with the acquisition of Chattem Inc. The high prospects for growth in the Asia Pacific region prompted companies such as Sanofi-Aventis and Teva Pharmaceuticals to form business alliances with Asian companies to expand sales.

Concerns on epidemics, like the H1N1 influenza, prompted consumers to take a proactive approach in taking care of their health. The demand for vitamins and dietary supplements that boost the immune system significantly increased, along with analgesics and allergy care. The largest categories in retail sales were represented by vitamins, dietary supplements, cough, cold and allergy remedies, and herbal and traditional products.

The retailing landscape widened to include more channels. While the pharmacy channel was deregulated in some countries in Western Europe, grocers gained Retailers are taking an increased role in promoting health and wellness initiatives by partnering with governments, companies, pharmacists and consumer groups to promote self-medication. The internet, social media and mobile devices are now the trendiest media to communicate value and generate sales across the world.

Consumer segmentation drives product innovation. Differences in the physiology of people due to gender, age, lifestyle, medical condition and ethnicity are fostering new developments in formulations, delivery technologies, dosing and packaging. The world population is ageing and new products will be needed to address the ailments and chronic diseases related to old age.

What is next in consumer health

Prevention will shape the future retail sales of consumer health. People are anticipated to take more control on their health as healthcare costs increase. This process will entail a coordinated effort by governments, the industry, health practitioners, pharmacists and consumers. A stricter regulatory environment along with a proper communication of self-care value, the availability of information on ailments, and affordable options for their prevention and treatment can make things work and benefit all players.

You will find meaningful analyses and insights in this complete global briefing that reveals what happened in 2009, and what we should expect for the future.