Throughout the recession and its aftermath of frugal spending, the nutritional supplements market has held steady as Americans embraced supplements as less costly alternatives to pure-play medical options such as doctor visits and prescription medications. According to Nutritional Supplements in the U.S., a just-released report from Packaged Facts, supplement sales rose 7 percent to $11.5 billion in 2012, and are forecasted to reach $15.5 billion by 2017.
Now with U.S. consumers beginning to loosen their budgetary belts, nutritional supplement marketers must work to keep their products integral to consumer health regimens. Key to this pursuit are targeted products featuring highly publicized ingredients that are solidly backed by science and take a page from functional food competitors.
At the same time, supplement marketers must use adroit target marketing on their prime demographics: those over age 65 and the up-and-coming aging Baby Boomers currently swelling the senior brackets. Nor can the industry take its eye off the younger demographics who are its longer-term future, but whose supplement usage rates have been declining, or the key-to-growth Hispanic population, whose supplement usage rates are below average but gradually rising.
Market wide, product efficacy and credibility remain crucial, with supplement developers increasingly relying on scientific evidence supporting the benefits of taking nutritional supplements to bolster the industry’s image in the eyes of consumers and of the health care practitioners who advise them. With market regulation and scrutiny at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever for the industry to produce and feature products with substantiated health benefit claims.
In this vein, according to Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle, condition-specific supplements continue to grow in range and importance, and will remain a key driver of sales and new product development across various segments including joint, brain, heart, and beauty, with many of these products honing in on age-related issues. At the other end of the condition-specific spectrum, children’s supplements have been doing well, demographically book-ending the overall market and laying the foundation for the market’s future prospects.