‘Natural’ and ‘alternative’ key words when it comes to homeopathy

Consumers buying homeopathic remedies base those decisions on two factors: products that are safe and efficacious. The products have to work, or they wouldn’t earn the repeat purchases that are helping to drive sales.

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“Millennial moms are looking for ‘safe’ [and] ‘effective,’” said Les Hamilton, president of Hyland’s. But it’s more than that, he added, because descriptors like ‘natural’ and ‘alternative’ also are resonating with today’s young moms. “She’s looking for raw fruits and vegetables [and] BPA-free containers,” he said. “They’re living this natural lifestyle that transcends the [medicines] they buy. It’s inside and outside their bodies, as well as what’s around them. It’s the whole lifestyle of green living.”

In addition, those shoppers are looking to capitalize on the convenience of mass outlets, which means they’re looking for these solutions in their local retail pharmacies. Sales of herbal and homeopathic products totaled more than $1.4 billion and were up 19.6% across conventional multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended July 10, 2016, according to SPINS.

Currently, conventional outlets represent the sharpest growth rates for homeopathy products. While homeopathy sales were similarly up in both the specialty gourmet and natural channels, the sales volume and velocity are considerably smaller both in terms of dollar sales and growth rates. In that period, herbal and homeopathic remedies generated $319.8 million in natural channels, up 8.1%, and $11.6 million in gourmet outlets, up 5.9%.

Value-oriented packaging is another key differentiator that’s driving business, Hamilton said. Hyland’s is expanding its value-pack offering to Hyland’s Baby Daytime/Nighttime Tiny Cold Tablets, based on its recent success with Hyland’s 4Kids Cold ‘n Cough Day & Night Value Pack that was introduced this season.

That gravitation toward “natural” and “alternative” may make for new merchandising opportunities. For example, Nelson Bach is currently working on building a stress-relief destination within mass OTC sets, synergistically adjacent to sleep in key retailers. “We’re working on customized solutions with individual retailers to fit the right SKUs to their shopper mix [and] merchandising sets,” John Ende, president and general manager at Nelson Bach USA, told Drug Store News. The process is dovetailing nicely with retailer initiatives to cluster stores by demographics, Ende added, as homeopathic remedies index higher among higher-income and higher-education households.
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