New merchandising could waken sleep aids


Retailers are awakening to the possibility that their sleep aids — typically merchandised near the floor level of a set synergistically near tablet pain relievers — may deserve a placement closer to eye level. It may sound cliché to characterize sleep aids as a sleeper category — that is until you look at the 11.6% trailing 52-week dollar growth, and then back down to the floor where the sleep aids are typically merchandised.

Excluding private label, out of the top 10 brands in the category all but two products have a growing dollar base. And sales of those two brands are flat, which suggests more consumers are making their sleep aid purchase part of a planned trip.

The ingredient being credited with this sleep aid renaissance is melatonin. However, sleep-
deprived consumers are trying other natural sleep remedies as well. “The economy has a great deal to do with [the sleep category growth],” said Dale Nepsa, Hyland’s president. Hyland’s Calm Forté is one of the growth drivers with an almost 20% lift in annual sales.

Biotab, makers of Alteril, even identified a new seasonal sales cycle with sleep — daylight savings time. No matter whether customers are springing forward or falling back, there is a spike in sales in the following weeks that directly corresponds to DST.

There also is a future potential tie-in opportunity to sleep apnea. It’s not so much promoting natural sleep remedies against as serious a disease as sleep apnea as it is creating a sleep center destination within the OTC space. 

There is a newly approved prescription-only device expected to drive awareness to sleep apnea. Called the Winx Sleep Therapy System and not yet on the market, ApniCure is touting the device as a marked improvement to CPAP machines. And there is a return-trip opportunity — the mouthpiece and tubing need to be replaced quarterly.

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