Spotlight on OTC: full steam ahead for healthcare marketers

2017 promises to be an even bigger year for OTC healthcare marketers, on top of what was record breaking growth in 2016.

According to Drug Store News Report Health | OTC Trends 2016, growth was propelled by:

  1. products that embody an aspirational health and wellness direction
  2. the graying of baby boomers
  3. switch of formerly prescription nasal corticosteroid brands to the OTC aisle

The quest to live healthier and better lives

This was the driver behind the top three brands in the report’s list of breakthrough brands (introduced within 52 weeks ending 12/25/16 or those that experienced blockbuster incremental growth in that time frame). All three are meal-replacement solutions: Premier Protein, Clif Bar (a personal favorite which is always in my tennis and golf bags) and SlimFast.

Aromatherapy was another segment with a steep growth trajectory in 2016, growing 15 times faster than the next growing (natural) segment. Having worked in the aromatherapy category, we know that these products (beyond their physical benefits) represent another way for consumers to bake “emotional wellness” seamlessly into their lives.

Three other segments riding the wave of the health and wellness market trend were:

  1. Homeopathic Remedies: with sales of herbal and homeopathic products up 19.6% across mass outlets.
  2. Wearables: as more and more of us take a proactive approach toward improving our health. According to a 2016 Accenture survey, one-in-three Americans have used a health app in 2016 versus 1-in6 Americans in 2014.
  3. Melatonin: given that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a 2016 study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

You can read the Health | OTC Trends 2016 report here. It’s a quick read, full of good information.



Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment as an opportunity to move customers, brands and businesses upward to a new destination.