June 8, 2023
NBJ’s first Sales Channel Report since 2019 has published. Here we take a look across ALL categories in the natural products industry—supplement, but also food and beverage and overall natural living (which includes personal care and household)—using market sizing and U.S. consumer survey data. But the focus is really on channel dynamics, including what is happening in brick-and-mortor ersus e-commerce, what the impact of the practitioner channel is and the forward-looking relevance of the MLM/Networking marketing companies. Here are some of our top takeaways:
Adjustments in e-commerce—Analysts across most industries, NBJ included, projected that COVID’s effect on e-commerce growth would be lasting. The channel surged 68.9% for natural products in 2020, and held on to 22.8% growth in 2021. That completely stalled in 2022 to 5.4%, but in a channel where sales had more than doubled since 2019. Growth is expected to return in the coming years, but not nearly to the levels in the past decade. This is a clear signal of consumers returning to brick-and-mortar shopping patterns.
Return to mass—With consumers more focused on price than in previous years, we have seen a pattern of “trading down,” where consumers are choosing fewer premium options and opting into discount channels. This has led to the only channel that had an adjustment in growth increasing in 2022—mass market—which shot up an estimated 7.6% for natural products last year. Inflation in food prices of course plays a role, but it also represents a larger movement of consumers seeking out the products, and the channel, where they can find a good deal.
Practitioner pulls ahead—Within supplements, the practitioner channel shone with the highest growth rate of all channels, at 6.7%, indicating consumer loyalty and development, as well as increased access to practitioner brand supplements. Telehealth has also had a huge impact on this channel, with consumer access to their practitioners (and their subsequent recommendations) at an all-time high.
Get more insights on the shifting channel dynamics in NBJ's 2023 Sales Channel Report.
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