Prepping for the cold: Immunity supplements enjoy 44% more sales during ‘flu/cold season,’ Nielsen data

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / Shironosov
iStock / Shironosov

Related tags: Alternative medicine

How do dietary supplement sales fare during the cold and flu season? Latest numbers from Nielsen show that - as you would expect - immunity claims, from tablets to teas, enjoy a surge in sales during the colder months.

To put it in numbers, supplements that have immunity claims have 44% higher weekly sales during the cold and flu season, which Nielsen sets at November through January, compared to the average week.

Women drive sales in complementary and alternative medicine, herbal teas

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According to a study published this year in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 89% of Hispanic Women and 81% of non-Hispanic women report using complementary and alternative medicine, which include dietary supplements and teas. READ MORE

In other words, of the $268,868,018 in annual sales for the category in calendar year 2016, 36% of that was sold between November 2016 and January 2017, according to numbers Nielsen provided to NutraIngredients-USA.

Next in line was vitamin C, where 30% of its $216,619,710 in annual sales were sold in the time period, meaning it enjoyed 21% higher sales in the cold and flu season compared to the average week throughout the year.

Americans are turning to tea

According to Nielsen data, the OTC aisle isn’t the only place consumers are looking through to manage cold and flu symptoms.

“During the cold/flu season, consumers spend 28% more on herbal teas compared to the average month, with these three months making up 32% of annual dollar spend on herbal tea,”​ according to a report​ by the market research company.

For herbal teas, varieties that called out specific benefits on the package gained more dollars during cold/flu season.

“Compared to the average month, consumers spend 42% more dollars on herbal tea with an immunity claim on the label, with sales up 22% compared to the previous season,” ​the report said. “Herbal teas with a natural claim drove 29% more dollars sales compared to the average month, with dollar sales up 32%.”

Related topics: Markets, Immune support, Botanicals

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