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Stand by for the VMHS surge

The consumer health market for vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements is expected to grow by an average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% to 2023, according to figures provided by the Nature’s Bounty Company at Natural Products Expo in April.

This acceleration will be driven by demand for Vitamin D (+24%), probiotics (+21%) and protein (+17%) in particular, according to Paul Chamberlain, Category Development and Product Training Director. Quoting Mintel figures, he said even fish oils, which had shown a decline between 2014 and 2018, would grow by a CAGR of around 7%.

Multivitamins alone generated nearly £218m in value in 2018 but will grow to £320m by 2023, while vitamin D will grow from £15m to £45m in the same period. He said the Big Five sub-categories were general health with a £79m sales value in 2018, followed by joint and bone (£77m), women’s health (£57m), energy (£40m) and beauty (£39m), (source: Euromonitor).

How consumers find the products you sell is also interesting and presents numerous opportunities.

More than half (55%) of all product searches start on Amazon and 60% of shoppers research online, even if they buy from a physical store. By 2020, half of these searches will be initiated by voice. Mintel research shows that the number one place where consumers buy VMS is in-store (47%) but online purchases (currently around 18%) are growing.

The Nature’s Bounty and Solgar brands are focusing advertising and promotions to drive footfall to the independent through print and social media, the latter with new, up-to-date lifestyle and education imagery to appeal to the consumer journey that begins online. Added to this are tools for retailers to use to capture the growing omni-channel approach consumers expect.

This support is key for independents, says Julie Crest, National Sales Manager UK & Ireland for the Nature’s Bounty Company, listing eight areas that increase sales: loyalty card, ‘staff recommends’, the Solgar Academy, bespoke training, category insights, in-store POS, consumer promotions and digital tools.

Stores that implement the loyalty card programme see on average a 20% increase in sales, while the ‘staff recommends’ scheme reveals a whopping 36% increase, as do stores that have registered with the Solgar Academy. Stores adopting staff training and workshops have been shown to add up to 26% in sales, emphasising the importance of meeting the needs of inquisitive, health-conscious consumers.

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