No rest for sleep solutions

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No rest for sleep solutions

By Michael Johnsen - 02/01/2018
It’s no longer enough for sleep aids to just help consumers fall asleep. The category is seeing growing numbers of consumers stumbling into the sleep aid aisle in search of something that will knock them out without feeling like they’ve been hit in the head by a prizefighter the next morning. And as with other categories, a growing number want a natural solution to their sleepless nights.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of Americans said they have trouble falling asleep at least once a month, and nearly half (47%) reported that they experience this trouble at least once a week, according to Procter & Gamble’s latest ZzzQuil consumer survey. Additionally, 4-in-5 consumers who tried a sleep aid reported that it helped them fall asleep more easily and stay asleep.

According to several suppliers in the category, sleep-deprived consumers want something that works quickly, keeps them sleeping through the night and leaves them refreshed and ready to take on the new day.

“When it comes to people falling asleep, they want to do it fast,” said Jim Creagan, president of Cornwall, N.Y-based Randob Labs, which markets Dormin. “Delivering on that promise is a key factor in the sleep aid category. With Dormin’s marketing, we stress how our capsules are fast-dissolving so they work quickly.”

Almost half (46%) of consumers who turned to aromatherapy were successful getting some shut-eye, and 45% of those who tried drinking hot tea reported that helped them fall asleep more easily and stay asleep. These consumers seem to be part of a growing group who prefer sleep aids that help them get som rest naturally.

“[Shoppers don’t] want to rely on chemicals that will leave them groggy the next morning,” said Richard King, director of consumer health care at East Brunswick, N.J.-based Strides Pharma, which markets melatonin product Nite Thru.

“Our product releases melatonin 3 mg when taken, which helps someone get to sleep, and then another 7 mg, which is released over the course of the night to ensure they stay asleep, waking up well rested and refreshed.”

As suppliers work to make their products meet consumer demands, they’re also focusing on retail strategies to increase category sales. Suppliers said retailers can help optimize sleep sales by capitalizing on seasonal merchandising opportunities. “Like beer and chips get front and center during Super Bowl season, sleep aids can be promoted at key times seasonally, as well,” Randob Labs’ Creagan said, noting that Daylight Savings Time — which throws off sleep patterns — presents a prime opportunity for retailers.

An evergreen approach that sleep aids makers are taking is targeting millennial shoppers short on sleep. Randob Labs has been using this tactic to successfully build a strong sales base for Dormin.

“The millennial audience isn’t typically targeted by sleep aids, so we’re looking to break the mold,” Creagan said. Randob Labs has worked with its marketing agency RLA collective to grow its social media and digital presence, including creating a character named Norman to appeal to younger shoppers.

Creagan said that the campaign has managed to keep Dormin, which has been on the market since the 1950s and is in the midst of a mass-market launch, fresh.

“Randob Labs is growing as we embrace the newest ways to cost effectively and creatively reach our potential niche consumers to drive them to our partner retailers,” he said. “We believe we are strategically taking advantage of marketing avenues that make our brands more relevant and we are seeing the sales results.”