A view of the vitamin category

February 8, 2023By Behind the Shelf Blog

By Colleen Volheim, HRG category research and analysis manager, and Megan Moyer, HRG corporate marketing manager

The popularity of the vitamin & dietary supplement category has increased in the last few years, primarily due to the consumer demand for immune support solutions. There is no doubt that a new set of shoppers entered the category while looking for options that could potentially prevent COVID-19.

One of the more popular forms in the category (as well as other HBW categories) is gummy. Within the vitamins & dietary supplements category, this trend was found in launches across many of the top brands. The four top performing brands by unit sales within chain drug and within independent pharmacy that have gummy products completely differed except for Natrol. Both channels, however, have two broadline brands in the top four-unit sales contributors. (Broadline vitamin & supplement brands include popular items pharmacists often recommend such as vitamins D and C, magnesium, and zinc, as examples.)

What’s interesting to note when looking at the category is the difference between the popularity of brands across channels. This points to how important it is for brands to look at sales by channel and take the time to develop targeted strategies accordingly.

Among leading brands within the vitamins & dietary supplements category, new item launches within a three-year time period across three channels were reviewed by HRG to determine how performance differs based on percent unit sales.

The leading brand in each channel is different, with the largest brand in the (MULO) channel being Olly — the “something for everyone” brand. In chain drug, the brand comes in third, while in independent pharmacy it is sixth.

The number one brand among new items is also different when analyzing chain drug and independent pharmacy performance, with different broadlines holding the number one spot in each channel. Nature’s Bounty dominates in chain drug and Nature’s Truth is a strong #1 in independent pharmacy.

These differences among channels could be a result of different demographic segments who shop those channels, the breadth of items carried in the typical store formats of the channel, or the extent of brand distribution among the stores. Whatever the reasons may be, it’s important to develop targeted at-shelf strategies for each channel at a minimum, and possibly down to geographic regions as well.

Source: HRG’s Tri-PAC™ Data and IRi Chain Drug, 9/1/19 – 7/31/22