Self-Care gets hyper-competitive
By: Francine Nieto | August 23, 2017
How companies interested in the consumer health segment can tap into the demand for wellness products while navigating a changing marketplace
The rising cost of healthcare and growing interest in healthy living is driving significant growth in the consumer health marketplace. According to QuintilesIMS data, OTC product sales, including health and wellness products, have seen steady mid-single digit growth every year since 2001, and now represent more than 10 percent of total pharmaceutical industry sales. The Cough and Cold category posted the highest annual global growth rate, though we have seen growth and innovation across the spectrum.
In both emerging and developed markets, this created large potential for consumer health product developers to deliver new and improved products, line extensions, and Rx-to-OTC switches to better meet the needs of consumers. Through 2016, a few companies further boosted their market position through M&A. Prominent examples include GSK-NVS, Bayer-Merck, Sanofi-BI and, more recently, RB-MJN. Strong portfolio prioritization moves also enabled some players to increase market share.
Selling wellness products to health-focused consumers often requires a very different marketing strategy from those of more traditional pharma-focused companies and is becoming ever more complex. While consumers still rely heavily on their physicians and pharmacists to guide them in the choice of OTCs, they will also seek out much broader advice and perspectives, especially when choosing wellness products. They typically gather information from sources including friends and family, advertising, web-based product ratings, healthcare apps, and social media. As a result, the entire shopper journey and decision-making process is much more fluid. In some cases, consumers may still be considering their options at the point of purchase, checking websites and consulting with peers as they choose products.
This means that developers of consumer health products need to take a more holistic approach to marketing and sales that includes creating a cohesive marketing message that can be disseminated via multiple consumer touchpoints. Digital channels cannot simply be an add-on for these campaigns. With health and wellness products, all of the messages are core to the sales process, and must work collaboratively toward shaping buying decisions.
Some forward-thinking companies are taking the digital component of health and wellness to the next level, generating innovative tools to engage consumers before, during and after the shopping experience. For example, L’Oréal, is actively collaborating with tech start-up companies to help them innovate the way consumers engage with the company and use its products. One of the start-ups is Preemadonna, which offers a device & app called Nailbot that lets users design and print art directly onto their nails via their phone. In 2016, L’Oréal launched My UV Patch, the ‘first-ever’ stretchable skin sensor to monitor UV exposure to support its la Roche-Posay skincare range. RB is also expanding into new connected consumer products, including Nurofen for Children FeverSmart Temperature Monitor for its Australia market that sends data to parents’ smartphones.